Global firms hit EU on broadcasting rules

Global media and technology companies are warning that proposed EU broadcasting rules will restrict the growth of emerging media formats such as video broadcasts on the Internet and mobile phones, an Associated Press report said.

According to the report, an alliance of British companies, including ITV, BT Group, and Vodafone Group, and the UK subsidiaries of Yahoo, Intel, and Cisco Systems, said a European Commission proposal to impose rules for traditional broadcasters on new media providers could have "unintended consequences" and hurt investment.

Earlier reports said the European Commission wanted to create a level playing field by making TV and TV-like services, such as broadcasts over high-speed broadband and 3G mobile phones, follow the same set of rules.

Those rules included limits on hate speech, advertising and the kind of content that could be broadcast to children, the report said.

Intellect, a London-based business lobby group representing technology companies, said it would be difficult to enforce the strict rules, according to the report.

The EU proposal could ultimately mean less investment for an area that had enormous growth potential, leading to fewer companies, less innovation and higher prices, the group said in a statement.