TV sexism ban irks Euro biz

Diamantopoulou initiated proposals for further censors

BRUSSELS — Europe’s TV companies are bracing themselves for a fight over a proposed law to ban sexist TV programs and advertising.

The Brussels-based Assn. of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), which represents companies including the U.K.’s BSkyB, France’s Canal Plus and Germany’s RTL, said that the draft measure should be “knocked on the head.”

ACT director general Ross Biggam believes the existing curbs on sexism in TV and advertising are “perfectly adequate. Viewers already know that if they want to complain about something they’ve seen, they can get in touch with broadcasting regulators in their own country.”

He added that as such matters were dealt with at national level, there’s no need for pan-European laws. “This should be left in the hands of the relevant national authorities, not handed over to the courts,” he said.

The draft measure, which is being discussed by officials at European Union executive arm the Commission, could have major consequences for TV and advertising industries.

The proposals have been initiated by employment supremo Anna Diamantopoulou and are unlikely to gain support from other departments of the EU. A spokeswoman for Diamantopoulou stressed that consultation was continuing and that no decision would be made before the end of the summer.