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.