Belgium told to shape up on 'must carry' rules

BRUSSELS — Spain’s government has been given a second and final warning to comply with European rules limiting TV advertising or face a date with the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission first tackled Spain on this issue last year, when a monitoring report revealed that pubcasters and commercial channels regularly break the 12-minute rule.

“All advertising and teleshopping broadcasts — including telepromotions, advertorials or however else they are described — must be taken as counting towards the 12 minutes per clock hour,” said media commissioner Viviane Reding on Tuesday. “To interpret the rule in any other way is to fail to show viewers and citizens the respect they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Belgium has been given a second warning for poor implementation in the Brussels region of “must carry” rules that require networks to carry specified radio and TV channels and services.

According to the EC, the rules are unclear in bilingual Brussels, leaving network operators and broadcasters uncertain about their obligations.

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