Advertisers push to avert Brussels' online controls

British advertising body Isba has called for the industry to implement a robust system of self-regulation to head off the prospect of statutory rules being implemented by the European Parliament.

The European Parliament is weighing up proposals that could see the introduction of statutory pan-European controls for online marketing.

The Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs met yesterday (Monday) to examine new ways of regulating online marketing and strengthening existing laws, while also protecting users' privacy. The hearing was due to be attended by Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft and AOL.

But Isba has dismissed statutory regulations as "ill-advised", calling for a global, rather than a European or regional response to the problem of unregulated online content.

Isba's director of public affairs, Ian Twinn, said the industry needs to come up with a way to regulate online content, particularly free programming, without curbing the freedom of the press.

He said: "I don't think the right response is EU legislation. The right response is to put pressure and expectation on businesses to self-regulate. This is not just about putting up walls around Europe."

Isba is working with the World Federation of Advertisers and the International Chamber of Commerce on an international system of self-regulation across all online media.

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