EU finds too many commercials on Polish television


    The European Commission is calling on Polish broadcasters to cut back on commercial time. Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reports new research shows that some EU members are exceeding the 12-minute-per-hour limit on advertising. Spanish television has already been disciplined, and Italy and Poland are next in line.

    In Poland the EC has singled out public broadcaster TVP1 and private channels Polsat, TVN and TV4. Part of the difficulty lies in interpretation of the EU directive on advertising. Usually if a program has one sponsor, notices are shown before and after the broadcast. The broadcasters are treating advertising blocks and sponsor notices aired before and after each show as two different things. In the opinion of the experts from Brussels, both the ads and the notices should count as commercial time.

    Witold Kołodziejski, chairman of the National Radio and Television Council, said the matter is serious and may result in a change in the Radio and Television Act which could radically affect the advertising market, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

    The new Polish government that took office after October parliamentary elections has promised to introduce an amendment to the Radio and Television Act early next year to drop the public radio-TV license fee, but it has not indicated its stance on the ad issue.

    "We are not on the level of writing this amendment yet," Iwona Śledzińska-Katarasińska, who chairs the parliamentary committee on culture and mass media, told Gazeta Wyborcza. "The discussions are concentrating on the roles of the public media in society and independent market regulation."