A Jolly Bright Line for British Broadcasters

In his first major speech on broadcasting, British culture secretary Andy Burnham minced few words. "I think there are some lines that we should not cross," Burnham told a media industry meeting. "One of which is that you can buy the space between the programmes on commercial channels, but not the space within them. ... There is a risk that product placement exacerbates this decline in trust and contaminates our programmes." The European Commission has directed member states "to say by the summer whether they will permit product placement." A spokesperson for ITV, which supports product placement, said the broadcaster "will be taking an active part in the consultation process on product placement." Burnham also "said he would not permit partisan news coverage in the UK in the style of Fox News in the U.S." Lastly, he argued in favor of self-regulation of Internet content through labeling. "If a clip on YouTube gets a million hits, it is akin to broadcasting and it doesn't seem to me to be too difficult to have an alert on that clip ... for language, violence or sex."