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EPC slams Commission for media censorship proposal

July 2003

The European Publishers Council (EPC) has written to EU Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou seeking clarification about the status and content of a new sex discrimination proposal following speculation in the press that there is to be a new law to ban sex discrimination in the media, advertising and insurance industries.

EPC Executive Director Angela Mills Wade said: "We are surprised that we have not been consulted about a law which would have such a major impact on media regulation. We are even more surprised that the Commission is seeking to regulate the content of television programmes and editorial pages of newspapers and magazines, as well as advertising messages which are already subject to regulation, both statutory and self-regulatory. This draft law smacks of censorship, is a direct attack on the freedom of the press and is way beyond the remit of the European Union. We would expect to be consulted before the text gets as far as the full Commission as further discussion clearly needs to take place."

If the Commission proceeds with a proposal for a directive, it will be subject to the normal approval process by both the European Parliament and EU member states.

For further information, please contact Heidi Lambert on Tel: +44 1245 476 265 or Angela Mills on Tel: +44 1865 310 732.

Note to editors:

The European Publishers Council (EPC) is a high level group of Chairmen and CEOs of leading European media corporations actively involved in multimedia markets spanning newspaper, magazine, Internet and on-line database publishing. Many EPC members also have significant interests in private television and radio.