Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tory MEP To Vote in Favour of Internet Regulation

Three weeks ago I wrote to Tory MEP Christopher Beazley, who sits on the Committee which is considering the EU Draft Directive on broadcasting. I asked if he would be voting against it, as it seeks to regulate internet TV (threatening to close down internet TV stations like 18DoughtyStreet). I rather naively assumed that as a Conservative, Mr Beazley would not want to see jobs exported out of the EU or any regulation of the internet. Wrong. I copy below his mealy mouthed reply, from which it seems clear that he supports the draft directive. It also took him two reminders and three weeks to reply.

Perhaps readers would like to email Mr Beazley with their own thoughts… christopher.beazley@europarl.europa.eu. Mr Beazley will no doubt soon be seeking reselection, so I am sure he will be particularly interested in the views of people from the East of England. Let's hope the replies don't take three weeks...

Dear Iain,
Thank you for your e-mail in which you express concerns over the proposed Audiovisual Media Services Directive following the article in The Times as attached to your e-mail. The broad intention of the Directive is to provide minimum standards for on-demand services, it is not desirable or practical to regulate all aspects of the internet in this framework. Both in the European Parliament and in the Council Working Group discussions are still on-going and we will not know how the final Directive will look, in precise detail until after the vote. Nevertheless there is broad agreement about the general aim of the new Directive.


The Times article you attach carries some significant inaccuracies. The Broadcasting Minister’s assertions in the article that the scope of the Directive would cover local sports clubs with advertising is incorrect. The Commission has repeatedly assured members of the Culture and Education Committee that the Directive is not intended to cover local websites with local advertising using moving images. The Rapporteur, EPP-ED Group colleague Ruth Hieronymi, has already amended the Directive to underline that blogs and user generated content is not covered by the scope of the Directive. Her amendment to Recital 13 underlines this. There are also Compromise Amendments which reinforce this position by highlighting editorial responsibility. This refers to broadcasters who have the ability to compile schedules and decide on the format of programming. Therefore, user generated content, by definition cannot be regulated in the same way as the service provider only has the capacity to remove content after it has been posted.

It is certainly the case that internet based TV, offering services that are like traditional television where the consumer will expect the same level of regulation and protection, will fall under the scope of the Directive. Conservative MEPs on the relevant Committees have been working consistently to ensure, that the Directive emerges in a state which is both workable and does not stifle innovation. Please see the link below for Mrs Hieronymi’s Report for your information

With best regards,
yours sincerely,
Christopher Beazley

42 comments:

Chris Palmer said...

Iain, if the EU can regulate on the perfect length of a banana (or whatever ridiculous thing is was) then what makes you think that Internet TV will pass them by - especially if those stations are critical of the EU project?

Never assume anything with Conservative MEPs in the EU.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, have you got room at no 18 DS for the resident MI5 officer like the BBC has ?
I am not surprised, politicians of all hues do not like not having control of the media.

no longer anonymous said...

Yet more meddling. Why can't we just be left alone?

raincoaster said...

Oh boy, I bet my podcasting Canadian friends are thrilled! Jobs for everybody!

Martin Curtis said...

This does not surprise me at all. I look forward to the reselections next year.

blue2Win said...

Deselection for some of these MEPs is essential. They have gone native. They should be working to cut regulation, and stopping all new proposals until someone proves, beyond a doubt, that it is absolutely necessary for the working of the single market.

The working time Directive opt out is under threat to keep the uncompetitive safe. If we continue with the opt out the French 35 hour week is untenable. Shame.

Luckily they cannot regulate the rest of the world, although I am sure they will try through the WTO.

Vlad the Impala said...

Didn't take our political masters too long to realise the threat represented by free comment on the internet, did it? Clearly frustrated by their inability to clamp down on the right to have a personal opinion, they will be able to choose a few high profile scalps (your own included) pour discourager les autres. Time to find that passport, folks

David Brain said...

Iain,

Do they have any idea how they will decide what is online TV and what is a video blog? Surely these distinctions are things of the past.

Peter Hitchens said...

HMMM
How about if the programme is crap I as a consumer can choose not to watch it? just as I do with terrestrial TV.
As you know this is nothing to do with quality, if it was QVC wouldn't exist, its all to do with control of content and fascist control. "they" dont like the internet as "they" cant control it.

G Eagle Esq said...

'
Sehr geEhrter Iain

Verdammt

Am I right to fear that voters in Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire will not have the pleasure of voting against Christopher Beazley ?

Your obedient servant etc und
Alles Gute

G E

Andrew Woodman said...

Beazley is no Conservative. If he's reselected next year, I will be staggered.

Serf said...

where the consumer will expect the same level of regulation and protection

This consumer does not expect any level of protection or regulation for any TV, not least from the UESR.

bt said...

Of course, this problem wouldn't exist if we followed Norway's lead.

I remember a shocked and stunned beeb clone asking the Norwegian man in the street why they'd voted to leave. "Because the EU doesn't have enough democracy" came the reply.

And it's got worse since IMO.

HF said...

I was opposed to the Bruges list of approved MEPs. That said, there seems to be no other way to ensure that we have MEPs who follow Conservative policy. When asked why he supported the Euro in the recent vote Richard Ashworth stated that he was really defending the european bank! When was that Conservative policy?

The MEPs are rotten from the head down. The problems start with Kirkhope. But is Francis or William going to do anything?

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, whilst returning from a business to Brussels, I had the pleasure of sharing table with the charming fruitcake that rejoices in the name of Christopher Beazley. He clearly went native many years ago.

That a person of Mr Beazley's calibre should feature on the Conservative party list for his region, reflects of the regard in which MEP's and European elections are held in this country.

Anonymous said...

I recently defeated the TV Licencing Office in the Crown Court. I do not believe that we should pay £130.50 for a licence to watch tv programmes, when we can watch 18doughtystreet.com on the internet for free. In my view, this is the best thing around at the moment. If I did not like the content, I would spend my time elsewhere. This is what liberty is about, being free to choose. Whilst I can understand the necessity for some regulations in our lives, freedom of thought and expression should not be infringed by state authorities or the EU.

Anonymous said...

Jailhouselawyer "I recently defeated the TV Licencing Office in the Crown Court"

How did you do it ???

Anonymous said...

Jailhouse lawyer, tell us more.

ghost of john trenchard said...

absolutely dreadful news.

looks as if you might need to start eyeing up some U.S. or Canadian based servers Iain.

Umbongo said...

Why is anyone surprised? This is all part of BluLabour: more regulation and less liberty (cf the pathetic cave-in over extradition in the Lords yesterday).

ghost of john trenchard said...

here's the relevant page on the EU website

Anonymous said...

Re Ghost of John Trenchard's comment:
I think you will find that simply moving the servers outside the EU will not get round the regulatory obligations as responsibility for compliance will be on the media service provider ("the person who has editorial responsibility for the choice of the audiovisual content of the audiovisual media service and determines the manner in which it is organised") and if that provider is within the EU - he/she has to comply. So everyone associated with 18 Doughty Street will have to emigrate with the servers.

Isn't that what George Walden is advocating in his new book?

Teri said...

I naively thought he would back against the EU Draft.

When do we get purple carrots?

I'm with Chris - Banana's.

Tom Paine said...

I have emailed him using my real name. Unfortunately, I am not an East of England voter, but I have done my best to make him feel ashamed. Time to put 18 Doughty Street onto a ship (a la Radio Caroline) outside EU territorial waters?

Schoolboy-Error said...

Oh Well.There's always 'Bollocks To Blair' T-Shirts.

Johnny Norfolk said...

What did you expect, The EU has a bad influence on everything.

Schoolboy-Error said...

In 'Amendment 21'-'Recital 20' 'players' must refer to EU Governments? Made me smile.

Anonymous said...

It was always going to be the case that corporations and governments were going to be terrified of a no holds barred free speech medium like the internet.

We are half way to total control already with the corporate sector controlling most of it for trade.

Once the communication aspect is under an EU version of OfCom, then we might as well be living in the People's Republic of China.

Anonymous said...

EU = China = US = big business domination. The EU is simply acting on behalf of Berlusconi and other media magnates who feel almost physically sick when they view the likes of Youtube. Small groups of people cannot be allowed to have media, otherwise the whole house of cards will tumble and the likes of Tesco and Microsoft will no longer rule the roost. In this regard, Beazley is only acting in line with decades of Tory politicians, defending big business interests. Not that New Labour are any different. The role of EU MEPs is to support any legislation which is pro-big business and to collect large corrupt fees on an unchallenged basis.

Buster George said...

Both in the European Parliament and in the Council Working Group discussions are still on-going and we will not know how the final Directive will look, in precise detail until after the vote.

Now I may not have this right, but is he saying that, they don't know what the new regulations will actualy be, but they will vote on it anyway?

It would seem that the make it up as you go along style of government that Blair practices has transfered to Europe.

Anonymous said...

Traitor!

Iain, you must continue to broadcast at all costs. You cannot allow these bureaucrats and power hungry politicians to undermine all the hard work we have done over the years to break the big media monopoly and bring true freedom of speech to the world.

Media Stoat said...

Hateful.

This is one of the most ill-conceived pieces of legislation by people who really know nothing about the subject matter that I have ever seen.

This is nothing to do with the EU, but everything to do with attempted regulation of the internet. This is half-cocked legislation which will be impossible to regulate, implement and police. It's a complete waste of time and effort.

Pogo said...

Just another ignorant politician proving conclusively that he hasn't the foggiest idea of how the internet actually functions!

Praguetory said...

Don't see much sign of

"the consumer expecting the same level of regulation and protection as for normal television"

javelin said...

He's gone native or photos in a brown envelope. If I were his wife I'd be watching mhim like a hawk.

Anonymous said...

Javelin-gone NO!
He always was.
PS-why has the Jenkin story been removed?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, don't understand. The Bernard Jenkin comment is in the story below this. It has not been removed

Anonymous said...

My apologies.

Frankie F said...

Iain,

Why does this threaten to close down 18DS?

Am I wrong in thinking that the intent of the directive is just to extend the same protections covering Channel 4 etc. to TV viewed via the web?

What content do you produce which is beyond the pale?

Anonymous said...

What happened to the comment I submitted in response to anonymous and uk daily pundit requesting more information?

Europarl insider said...

All Tory MEPs are not bad news, to be fair, Kamall, Purvis, Heaton-Harris and Harbour have all been following this much more closely than Beazley and have fought to keep this regulation to an absolute minimum.

All four have been fighting to limit the scope so sites such as 18 doughty street will not fall under the regulation.

andrew kirkham said...

Does this affect YouTube and other video clip sites??? Can someone with some knowledge please explain,thanks.