Loophole could undermine stricter alcohol advertising laws – EURACTIV.com

The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) does not prohibit member states from imposing stricter rules on alcohol advertising. However, it contains a loophole that could undermine these rules and thus circumvent the goals of the European Union’s plan to beat cancer.

one of the goals European Union plan to fight cancer – Europe’s plan to fight cancer – is to “reduce the exposure of young people to online marketing of alcoholic beverages by monitoring the implementation of Directing audio-visual media services To reduce.” The goal is to reduce alcohol consumption among young people.

AVMSD monitoring alone may not be sufficient. a Recently published WHO report About regulation of cross-border alcohol marketing points out some of the loopholes and weaknesses of AVMSD. These could affect EU countries that want stricter rules.

A European Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV that the “country of origin principle” is the “cornerstone” of AVMSD. However, the WHO report highlights how this principle leaves open the possibility of circumvention of stricter national laws.

This principle is found in Section 3 (1) of the AVMSD. According to Article 3 (1) of the AVMSD Act, EU countries must “prohibit the free reception and retransmission of audiovisual media services.
other member states on their territory.”

For Sweden, this principle meant that UK-based broadcasters could not be banned broadcasting to Sweden in the Swedish language and did not comply with the stricter Swedish alcohol marketing laws.

In 2018, when the commission was informed of a desire to take legal action against broadcasters, the commission ruled that Sweden was not allowed to do so. It also denied allegations that broadcasters were “set up in the UK to circumvent stricter Swedish rules for advertising alcoholic beverages”, according to the WHO report. This decision was later criticized.

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In response to a question from EURACTIV, a Commission spokesperson praised the country of origin rule as it “ensures free reception and cross-border retransmission of audio-visual media services within the EU”, which “benefited EU businesses and consumers”.

No revision in sight

In the case of Sweden, broadcasters had to return to Sweden after the UK left the EU. And while the legal loophole still exists, the commission does not plan to review it in the near future.

“At this point, the Commission’s priority is to ensure that all member states complete the conversion of the AVMSD system into national law, as well as conduct a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the new rules in member states,” the commission source said. , citing recent policy changes.

“It is therefore still premature to discuss a possible future review of the AVMSD system,” the spokesperson added.

The AVMSD Act includes provisions designed to ensure that advertising of alcoholic beverages is not directed at minors – as set out in Section 9.1(e) and encourages the development of co-regulation and self-regulation of “commercial audio-visual communications inappropriate for alcoholic beverages” (Section 9.3).

It also states that all television advertising about alcohol must comply with certain basic principles, including “not portray abstinence or moderation in a negative light” (Article 22.1(e)).

According to the WHO report, these standards have been criticized for “not being sufficiently detailed and focusing on restricting advertising targeting minors, which fails to address the issue of alcohol marketing, which is not targeting minors but is still attractive to them and can affect them.” “

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“The AVMSD has strengthened provisions to effectively reduce the exposure of children and minors to commercial audio-visual contacts with alcoholic beverages, thanks to the new rules themselves, expanding the new rules and, by encouraging the adoption of codes of conduct, significant advantages,” an EU Commission spokesperson said.

Codes of conduct relate to revisions to the Disease Prevention and Prevention Act that encourage co-regulation and self-regulation.

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