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03/06/2016

Revision of the EU audio visual media services directive (AVMSD)

On the 25 May, the European Commission adopted a new legislative proposal amending the AVMSD. Regulation of commercial communication as well as protection of minors are elements of the directive, and, therefore, the AVMSD is highly important when discussing exposure of alcohol advertisement, especially to young people.

The problematic issues around the current AVMSD, which was adopted in 2010, have been highlighted by several research articles and a series of seminars with representation of officials from DG Connect, including a panel on the issue at the 6thEuropean Alcohol Policy Conference in Brussels, November 2014.

The main concerns have been that the current AVMSD is relying on self-regulation from the industry to protect minors and public health, and only giving weak guidelines, as well as classing alcohol advertisements within the category of ‘television advertisements’ only, rather than all commercial communications, thus exempting it from restrictions on sponsorship and product placements.

Another problematic issue has been the principle of country of origin, where for example Sweden, having a ban on alcohol advertising has seen exposure of alcohol marketing on what appears to be Swedish channels, but broadcast from the UK, and therefore following UK regulations.

Despite growing evidence on the association between alcohol marketing and early onset of alcohol consumption and harm levels, the new proposal has failed to take the concerns into consideration and suggests continuing a self-regulatory policy approach to marketing of alcoholic beverages.

The AVMSD will now be sent to the European Parliament and to the Council for further discussion.

Eurocare is supporting a campaign named Change the AVMSD, and you can also help by signing the online petition to the Rapporteur of the AVMSD Proposal.