One hundred representatives from 41 regulatory authorities in the field of broadcasting in Europe met to exchange information and experiences on European and national regulatory issues in the field of radio and television.
The main topic on the agenda was the regulation of television advertising in the light of the future review of the "Television without Frontiers" Directive. The session started with presentations by Dominique Baudis, Chairman of the French CSA and Jonathan Levy from the FCC, respectively on the French and the US position regarding advertising regulation. The following discussion showed that even though EPRA members held differing views on the subject, they all agreed on the fact that they were not in favour of the almost completely deregulated US model. The German suggestion of focusing on three main points for the review of the Directive: i.e. the separation of advertising from editorial content, the prohibition of surreptitious and subliminal advertising and the prohibition or restriction of advertising during children's programmes was quite positively received by most participants.
Two separate working groups convened simultaneously during the afternoon of the first day. The first working group dealt with broadcast regulation of events of major importance to society and included a presentation by Heijo Ruijsenaars of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It addressed the practical problems of implementation encountered by regulatory authorities.
The second working group discussed various concrete issues relating to the licensing of local broadcasters and in particular the current proceedings of the European Commission against Germany. On the second day, the European Commission and the Council of Europe reported on their recent activities. Wim Bekkers of the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM) presented the new Dutch classification system for film, TV, video, DVD and games which is based on self-regulation.
Last but not least, the new Executive Board of the EPRA was elected. Greger Lindberg, Director General of the Swedish Broadcasting Commission was re-elected Chairman for a further period of two years. The Senior Vice-Chairman is Michael O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the I.R.T.C. and the other Vice-chairman is Joan Botella, member of the CAC.
The European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) was set up in April 1995 in Malta with the aim of enabling representatives of regulatory authorities to meet regularly in an informal way to exchange information about national and European media regulation and discuss practical solutions to legal problems related to the interpretation and application of media regulation. To date, 39 regulatory authorities are members of the EPRA, the latest additions being the Bulgarian National Council for Radio and Television, the Albanian National Council of Radio and Television, the Estonian Broadcasting Council and the Swedish Radio and TV Authority. The European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and the Council of Europe (Media Division) have the status of permanent observers.