MARKETING AND MEDIA: New Media Laws Welcomed

Article excerpt

Business leaders have welcomed a Government pledge to use a light touch in new media regulations.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce and the region's leading community arts project say the new creative industries being established in the area would be damaged by the kind of regulation being proposed in some European quarters.

That view was echoed in Birmingham by the city's Chamber.

They spokes out as the EU prepares to revamp crucial media rules in the light of the growth of the internet.

The rapidly expanding European media and entertainment market will be worth around pounds 238 billion by 2008, but the British Government fears its development is threatened by piracy and bureaucracy.

The European Commission and EU governments are discussing the revision of the Television Without Frontiers Directive that governs European broadcasting, but business leaders fear the industry will end up with more, not less, regulation.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell says she wants to preserve the light-touch regulation of new media. "We know that we need new regulations to reflect the fact that TV services are now being delivered via the net and mobile phones. But we don't want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut as regulation of these platforms will have an enormous impact on how they develop," she told media and TV executives.

A Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman backed her comments.

He said: "Clearly there needs to be regulation to protect vulnerable groups such as children but I would hope it does not spill over into other areas of the media which are regulating themselves.

"In this country we are already regulated in very many areas and I'd welcome the Government's view in using a light touch."

The Black Country's principal creative centre, The Public, is being developed in West Bromwich.

Opening in 2006 it will be Europe's largest community arts development. …