TELEVISION WITHOUT FRONTIERS DIRECTIVE : DIRECTORS DEFEND STATUS OF FILMS ON TELEVISION.

PositionRuth Hieronymi of European Union. European Parliament - European Federation of Audiovisual Directors

European directors have spoken out against the vote by MEPs reducing to 30 minutes the interval between two commercial breaks in films and television dramas, compared with the current 45 minutes.

The European Parliament opted on 13 December in first reading for the more liberal option proposed by its rapporteur, Ruth Hieronymi (EPP-ED, Germany), and the Liberals - this against the opinion of the EP's Committee on Culture and Education, which bears primary responsibility for the dossier, which reintroduced the 45-minute limit for films, television dramas and documentaries.

The European Federation of Audiovisual Directors (FERA) emphasises the very close nature of the vote, with Hieronymi's amendment passed by a single vote. "This very tight majority is proof that there is no real consensus for robbing creative audiovisual works of their originality," according to FERA.

"We will pursue dialogue with the European Parliament in anticipation of its second reading," said FERA Director Cecile Despringre. She refuses to believe the matter is done and dusted, though Parliament has, by virtue of this amendment, moved closer to the member states which are expected to adopt their position in May of next year.

"Many MEPs are keen to continue protecting their culture and the cultural and artistic value of audiovisual works," according to FERA. Its line is notably echoed among Socialist MEPs. "The very close result - a single vote - demonstrates that we have succeeded internally in organising genuine resistance," said French MEP Henri Weber, rapporteur for the Socialist Group...

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