Wednesday, November 15, 2006

German MEP in Conflict of Interest?

Readers will recall I have been quite excitable about the fact that Christopher Beazley MEP has voted in favour of the regulation of internet TV. On Monday the Culutr and Media Committee voted in favour of the Draft Audio Visual Services Directive which seeks to regulate internet TV in the same way as terrestrial broadcasters. When committees vote in this way you have to delve behind the obvious and ask: who's going to benefit by such a Directive? The answer in this case is clear - mainstream terrestrial broadcasters.

So it was with some astonishment that I learned from one of my correspondents that the Chief Rapporteur of the Culture Committee on this Directive is German MEP Ruth Hieronymi. The reason I'm surprised? Since 1991 she has sat of the Board of WDR (West Deutsche Rundfunk), one of the most powerful terrestrial broadcasters in Germany. In this country that sort of thing would be called a Conflict of Interest. After all, who stands to gain from the regulation of internet TV? Why, powerful terrestrial broadcasters like WDR, naturally! I'm sure Frau Hieronymi declared her interest (for which, according to Eurpopean Parliament records she does not get paid) but she should not be the Chief Rapporteur in an area where such a clear conflict of interest can be alleged.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rundfunk?

Rog said...

What do you expect from the nice, honest EU?

It's a big load of (expensive) bollocks.

Better Off Out.

Anonymous said...

Enough to make you sick Iain, isn't it.

javelin said...

In Europe they palm this off as experience. So much to learn Iain.

Anonymous said...

Iain, can you please explain how this regulation threatens your 18 Doughty Street station?

Does it threaten to make it illegal?

Will it force you to cut/show opinions and things that you otherwise would include/exclude?

Will it increase the costs of running it? By how much?

William said...

Iain, you're not exactly an impartial and disinterested party yourself. Why should Internet TV not be subject to regulation? Or better still: if it shouldn't, why should terrestrial TV continue to be?

Pot and kettle.... People in glass houses... Trying to have your cake and eat it...

Anonymous said...

I don't want to start WW3, but I notice that high heels have replaced the jackboots in this invasion of liberty in Europe. This conflict of interest would appear to be an abuse of power. I don't think that the EU was set up to be the platform for individual business interests. I trust that the honorary Yorkshire Terrier will dog the heels on this one and not let go until someone trips up?

Philipa said...

I want to know:- if surveillance in Britain is so widespread that we do indeed record every phone call, email, search on a search engine etc. etc. and our 'special relationship' with America is so great, then why are there still illegal images on the web? Why are there still paedophiles getting together in groups? Why is there drug trafficking? Why is there ANY organised crime? etc. etc. etc. Can it be that the government in this country only uses this information to get money and doesn't care less about the protection of the people it's meant to serve? Can it be that this, along with the so-called 'war on terror' and Climate change, be hijacked by a sinsiter government who seeks to use this information to further subjugate it's people rather than be useful to them? I no longer ask myself whether this or that is a good thing, I merely wonder why this government wants to do it? When it comes to the BBC is that independant? And when it comes to "mainstream terrestrial broadcasters" I can't help wondering if there's a place on the board? Or whether they will be donating to one of the mainstream parties? In the form of a loan maybe? I'm sorry I'm obviously such a cynical old Hector.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused now.

Is this a lefty, regulatory conspiracy?

Or is it a righ-wing, business-led, corporate interest conspiracy?

How will I know whether to support it or not?

Lagwolf said...

Surely have the station hosted in the US/outside the EU will get away from this problem?

Any sane blog does not bother to be hosted in the EU so why would a TV channel if they could help it?

Jimbo said...

I see Kamall has written an article on this directive on Conservativehome.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2006/11/syed_kamall_mep.html

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed. A poltician with a conflict of interest. Ooh I'm confused about which side to vote now. What a binary life you guys have.

CEF

Anonymous said...

"Iain, you're not exactly an impartial and disinterested party yourself. Why should Internet TV not be subject to regulation? Or better still: if it shouldn't, why should terrestrial TV continue to be?"

You Idiot! Iain is not impartial due to his connection to 18 thingy street. But SO FUCKING WHAT? The difference is he's not in a position to decide or even vote on this regulation, the German MEP IS.

wrinkled weasel said...

I have watched a lot of 18 Doughty Street and I fail to see what it is that needs regulating, as it is clearly harmless and cosy.

JT said...

Iain, I'm sure you read Richard North's take on the matter last month, but if not, it can be read here

Anonymous said...

Shut down the gravy train!

Vote here: http://www.oneseat.eu/

Ian Thorpe said...

Conflict of interest, what you mean like getting your best mate to decide if you will be prosecuted for taking bungs or not?
What happened to integrity in public life?

verity said...

I think Doughty St's a great little TV station. I watch it for a little while almost every day.

james higham said...

Clear conflict of interest. She needs to resign. Doesn't matter whether it's Britain or Germany.

William said...

It's wonderful, isn't it. We're commenting on Internet TV, but Conservatives and Anonymongs haven't yet learnt to Google so they know what they are talking about.

Anonymong 4:39PM: Iain's not voting because he isn't elected, and the German MEP IS. Maybe Iain will be elected one day, but what does that matter, eh?

Jimbo: I read Syed Kamall's piece... He may be crossing "time warps to different planets" every week, but he's coming, not going. The poor dear.

On the planet I live on (Earth), ensuring that advertising content is clearly separated from other content, that alcohol is not being marketed to seven year old's, that sponsors and other sources of funding are identified, etc. etc. etc. are perfectly legitimate concerns.

Rant and rant all you like, but none of you actually wants to live on a no-rules planet. But if you do, hitch a ride with your nearest "Tory MEP."

no longer anonymous said...

"Why should Internet TV not be subject to regulation?"

Because people should be able to decide what they watch, no matter how offensive (paedophilia can be dealt with by existing laws).

"why should terrestrial TV continue to be?"

Good question.

"Or is it a righ-wing, business-led, corporate interest conspiracy?"

Probably that. Businesses love regulations that undermine their rivals.

verity said...

That 18 Doughty St blog is so confusing. I have been trying to watch, but all it ever says is 'connecting' and then if you try to click on a link, thinking that will take you through to the programme or the RSS, you get some other blog you've never heard of.

How do you just get onto the TV show? I've managed it in the past but, obviously, by happenestance.

Voyager said...

http://www.hieronymi.de/

She is as you will note Iain a CDU Member, and as such she is one of the political appointees to the State Broadcaster WDR, itself part of ARD and based in Cologne. The British pushed through control of broadcast media with representatives of political parties on the board.

In German terms conflicts of interests do not exist as in the UK. Recall how many MdB in the Bundestag were discovered to be being salaried by VW, RWE, E-oN whilst paid as MPs and not declaring anything, in fact there was no register of interests.

The German system is opaque and the number of MPs on the payroll of corporations, public sector employers etc is quite large; so I would not expect this MEP to see anything wrong in her position at all. You should dig deeper into both SPD and CDU politicians to find out just what conflicts line their pockets

Anonymous said...

This is why we need the Police to prosecute figures in the government over loans for peerages. The Rule of Law applies to everyone, but Nulab Blair and Brown, like all EU peole, believe that the Law applies to the proles but it doesn't apply to them. Hang 'em High, and make an example of these two idiots who have reduced Britain to a world centre for crime, terrorism, debt and unemployment (5 million adults economically inactive.

Leave 18 Doughty Street alone, you fucking EU tossers. Of course EU officers lie, cheat and steal and don't observe democratic norms. That's the EU's raison d'etre. Can someone get us out of the EU now? Surely the joke's over.

Verity, teenagers are good at using computers. Ask one for advice.
(just come out of hospital and needed a good blogblast)

Anonymous said...

Glass house - all conspiracies at the Euro-level are big business conspiracies. Iain is right to raise this, but in the context of British Toryism it's an odd one - traditionally the Tories have acted publicly as if they care about the small guy and the little businesses whilst clandestinely doing everything they can to further the interests of big business at the expense of the small guy. I suspect some jealousy here from Iain and the like; now that this role has been taken over by the likes of New Labour and the EU Commission, how will Torys get all that loverly graft? There is only one hope left - start some new companies broadcasting porn on the internet and hope to goodness there's some place to hide! Here comes Liberia!

Vienna Woods said...

It's no secret that the German TV companies are enviously looking at Murdoch's lucrative SKY pay-TV service and are about to attempt something similar in German speaking countries. Already several of them have announced that their services will only be available for a monthly charge next year using a passive card system. As we already have this for the ÖRF and Austrian channels, I can envisage a receiver with so many card slots which will be the biggest turn-off since Blair entered parliament. Can you imagine jumping up and down to change a plethora of plastic during an evening's viewing. I think it will herald the demise of the too numerous German TV broadcasters.

William said...

"Because people should be able to decide what they watch."

The TVWF directive is not about deciding what people can watch.

And another thing... why is it the default position of europhobes that if a regulation is made in Brussels that it wouldn't be made in the UK anyway, even if Britain was not in the EU?

Given that New Labour have managed to create (apparently) three thousand new crimes, do you really think the British government wouldn't be looking at these issues independently?

Anonymous said...

Now that Ofcom have banned one of the most lucrative sources of TV advertising, junk food, where on earth are Tesco's suppliers going to place their ads?

Step forward the new wave of internet TV broadcasters, which Ofcom have mysteriously forgotten about! The bureacrats up there at Ofcom HQ need a few catch-up lessons in Today's Exciting New World. In the meantime Iain, an important new source of revenue awaits you. Expect ads for Kool Choco Bars and Walkers Overoiled Gut Expanders on this site soon!!