Letter: Europe can save TV from Murdoch

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The Independent Online
Europe can save TV from Murdoch

Sir: Europe is the best place to look for an answer to the question "What will the politicians do?" in response to BSkyB's plans to launch a digital "set-top box" ("There are just days until Murdoch's digital TV conquest", 29 October).

When I tabled an amendment in the European Parliament to the TV standards draft directive two years ago demanding that a common interface should be part of the licensing requirement for every digital decoder box, it was defeated on the grounds that the technology wasn't ready at the time.

Now it's here, we in the European Parliament are urging a rewrite of existing European law to ensure that every broadcaster can reach every citizen on their own terms - in a free, not a rigged market. In this we are confident of success. Martin Bangemann, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, is on record as declaring that an obligatory common interface is now necessary. The British government should follow this lead and produce convincing safeguards.

Potential purchasers should be warned that the boxes may soon be worthless as the licence to use them may be withdrawn when any such European law is translated into British legislation.

CAROLE TONGUE MEP

(London East, Labour)

Socialist Group Co-Ordinator on Media, European Parliament

Ilford, Essex

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