The planned review of the European Union's key broadcasting legislation will be easy on the Internet but tough on clandestine advertising techniques such as product placement, EU media commissioner Vi

BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The planned review of the European Union's key broadcasting legislation will be easy on the Internet but tough on clandestine advertising techniques such as product placement, EU media commissioner Viviane Reding said Sept. 22.

Speaking at a broadcasting conference in Liverpool, Reding insisted the review of the EU's 1989 Television Without Frontiers directive would not interfere in cyberspace, promising, "It is the duty of the Commission to propose a framework under which the shared European values -- protection of minors, protection against incitement to racial hatred -- are protected. But I have no intention to regulate the Internet," she said.

Reding signaled that the review would take account of the huge changes since the directive first came into force, from satellite and cable television to the Internet and video-on-demand, with many rules scrapped or scaled back significantly.

For example, the EU's Internet telephone industry would be allowed to regulate itself. A model, she suggested, should be the British approach that allows industry "to self regulate video-on-demand services."

However, Reding was not ready to abdicate authority in regulating advertising, despite the new techniques and technologies currently emerging.

She said she hoped to come up with a proposal for a single set of European rules on product placement in broadcasts.

"Product placement is a reality, but we lack clear rules," Reding said. "Our goal should be to increase consumer information, while acknowledging that product placement is a form of advertising, and that it should not interfere with editorial independence."

Broadcasters are currently not allowed to have more than 12 minutes per hour of advertising, and adverts must observe a minimum frequency depending on the type of program.