15 July 2003
Dear President Prodi,
Dear Secretary General O’Sullivan,
On behalf of my EPC (European Publishers Council) and VDZ (German Publishing Association) colleagues, I would like to use this opportunity to express our deepest worry about the planned introduction of EU regulations on advertising in the food and beverage industry.
The requirement to report scientific proof of health-related messages to the Commission via the member states resulting, in the best case, in a list of approved messages, will not only lead to massive bureaucratic hurdles, but also to a serious limitation of the freedom of the press and advertising.
Advertising, like political communication, is based on informing and giving people choices. No one would consider the idea of obliging political parties to scientifically check and prove political slogans like “creating a secure future”.
The free market communicates via advertising. Democratic nations, communicate via the free press. Efforts aimed at restricting advertising and the freedom of the press also restrict the free market and democracy.
We believe that the planned regulations are dangerous steps in the wrong direction and we ask the Commission to abstain from such considerations.
We believe it is of the utmost urgency that you discuss the implications of such regulations with our member companies who will be directly affected by such proposals. In this respect we would kindly request a meeting at the highest level as soon as possible.
Dr. Hubert Burda
President Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger e.V.
Chairman and Publisher Hubert Burda Media