European Parliament endorses Advertising Self-Regulation


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On May 22, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Implementation of the Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive with 593 votes in favour, 69 against and 14 abstentions. The full text of the resolution is available here (page 329).

The report welcomes advertising self-regulation as a complement to regulation, and in particular recognises the efforts made by the food and beverage industry in the context of the EU Pledge.

This report follows the publication in May 2012 by the European Commission of the first application report on the AVMS Directive, in which the Commission welcomed the progress made by the industry in the field of marketing and advertising self-regulation, also highlighted in the evaluation of the Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

The report was prepared by Polish Conservative member Piotr Borys, who repeatedly emphasised that self-regulation was a very important aspect of the Directive during the adoption process.

This is an important formal recognition of advertising self-regulation, particularly in the area of food and beverage marketing to children, and follows successful advocacy efforts by WFA and industry partners. Calls for advertising bans were also rejected when the text was first examined in the Culture committee.

Furthermore, the report formally recognises co-regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives, which “offer a means of reacting more swiftly to developments in the rapidly changing world of the media”. The report notes also that self-regulation should be regarded as complementary to legal provisions, and that they should “regularly be monitored to ensure their enforcement”. In line with this vision, MEPs call on the Commission “to give these relatively new regulatory tools a greater role in the protection of minors” in the event of a revision of the AVMS Directive.

Most importantly, the report formally recognises the EU Pledge, a commitment of major food and beverage manufacturers and WFA to the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The report recognises that these efforts “respond to the AVMS Directive's call for codes of conduct for commercial communications, accompanying or included in children's programmes, of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt”.

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