EC to decide quotas at year’s end

Report claims action taken against countries for ad regulations

BRUSSELS — The European Commission has put off overhauling controversial broadcast quotas on U.S. films and TV programs shown in European Union countries until the end of the year.

A report passed on Monday lays the groundwork for a review of the Television Without Frontiers directive. The last review of the directive in 1997 caused controversy, particularly in the European Parliament.

Then, as now, broadcasters eager to relax quotas opposed politicians keen to increase quotas for EU content.

The report reveals that action has been taken against Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece for failing to comply with the clauses that regulate the amount of advertising on screen, the number and form of advertising breaks, and the content and presentation of advertisements.

Promoting cultural diversity and the competitiveness of the European industry will feature prominently in the Commission’s work program, along with ensuring access to major sporting and cultural events such ast the Olympic Games.

During the first quarter of 2003 the Commission will launch an independent study on the impact of measures at European and national level to promote the distribution and production of European works.

The study will be the basis of a final report on the Television Without Frontiers directive, including recommendations for future revisions, due to be published by year-end.

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