18th EPRA meeting in Nicosia

posted on 25 October, 2003   (public)

The 18th meeting of the EPRA took place in Nicosia, Cyprus on the 23 and 24 of October 2003

Ninety-five participants from 34 countries attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Cyprus Radio-Television Authority. Forty-three regulatory authorities were represented and were joined by the permanent observers from the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

The plenary session was dedicated to the topic of 'Media developments in acceding, candidate and transition countries - What is and what can be the role of the regulators?'. Hagi Shein, from the Estonian Broadcasting Council gave an overview of the current phase of implementation of EU media policy standards in the aforementioned countries, reported on the impact, problems and differences in approach and comprehension of the goals and aims of the EU media policy principles and identified possible common interests of these countries and current challenges for the regulators. Izabella Chruslinska, from the Polish Broadcasting Council reported on concrete measures of assistance between regulatory authorities such as twinning programmes, working groups, and seminars.

Two working groups convened simultaneously during the afternoon of the first day. 'New advertising techniques and new forms of programme funding' was the theme of the first working group where video examples from Germany, Norway and the UK were presented. The group dealt with concrete problems raised for the regulators from these new techniques and services and the ways they can be dealt with. The need for special rules on these services and the introduction or expansion of self-regulation were debated. It was concluded that the rules on editorial content, human dignity, freedom of speech, protection of minors and consumer protection should be the guiding principles for regulatory authorities.

The second working group, on 'Separation of editorial content from commercial interests and surreptitious advertising', dealt with video examples from Austria, Belgium (CSA), Denmark and France. In particular, the group focused on the issue of the defining criteria and the question of proof of surreptitious advertising. The group also debated on the question as to whether product placement could or should be treated differently in audiovisual and cinematographic works, or in foreign or domestic programmes.

On the second day, the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and the Council of Europe (Media Division) reported on their recent activities. Emmanuelle Machet, Secretary to the EPRA and Marianna Aletrari, from the Cyprus Radio-Television Authority made presentations on rating systems and the possible need for a uniform pan-European rating system.

On the basis of a background paper produced by the EPRA Executive Board, members debated several suggestions dealing with the future format of the EPRA. Some decisions were made in Nicosia while others will be further explored and debated again at the meeting in Stockholm.

The next EPRA meeting will take place on 3-4 June 2004 in Stockholm at the joint invitation of the Swedish Broadcasting Commission and the Swedish Radio and TV Authority.