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Francisco Pinto Balsemão
Chairman, EPC
Chairman and CEO,
Impresa S.G.P.S.
Rua Ribeiro Sanches 65
1200 Lisboa
Tel: +351 21 392 9782
Fax: +351 21 392 9788
Angela Mills Wade
Executive Director
c/o Europe Analytica
26 Avenue Livingstone
Bte 3
B-1000 Brussels
Tel: +322 231 1299
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Heidi Lambert Communications
Tel:  +44 1245 476 265
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News release

Proposed restrictions on food and beverage advertising fly in face of free press and free market, says European Publishers Council

Commission unveils proposals today, 16 July 2023


The European Publishers Council (EPC) has written to EU Commission President Prodi urging the European Commission to consider seriously the implications for the freedom of the press of its proposed restrictions on the advertising of food and beverages announced today, 16 July.

The Commission is proposing a requirement on advertisers to demonstrate scientific proof of health-related messages.

EPC member Dr Hubert Burda, Chairman and Publisher of Hubert Burda Media said: "Advertising, like political communication, is based on informing and giving people choices. No one would consider the idea of obliging political parties scientifically to check and prove political slogans such as "Creating A Secure Future".

"The free market communicates via advertising. Democratic nations communicate via the free press. Efforts aimed at restricting advertising and the freedom of the press also restrict the free market and democracy."

EPC Chairman, Francisco Pinto Balsemão said: "Self-regulatory mechanisms are already in place to prevent or rule against misleading or bogus claims. What is particularly concerning to the media is that this is just one in a whole string of controversial proposals, adopted or in the pipe line, systematically attacking the freedom to advertise. Along with the planned proposals on the portrayal of women in advertising and environmental claims we know that alcohol advertising is also under review by the Commission and could lead to yet more restrictions or bans. The recently adopted unfair marketing directive could all too easily pave the way for new restrictions or bans on advertising to children. This is a draconian proposal for legislation restricting advertising, which undermines our ability to fund independent media in a free market. It seems that yet again the freedom to advertise is seriously under threat from EU measures proposed in the name of consumer protection. Who ever really believed the oft-trumpeted phrase that tobacco was a special case?"

The proposed regulation will require approval of both the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. If adopted, it is likely to come into force during 2005.

For more information, please contact Angela Mills at the EPC on Tel: +44 1865 310 732 or Heidi Lambert Communications on Tel: +44 1245 476 265.


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.


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