EC VOTE MAY THREATEN ADS AIMED AT KIDS

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BRUSSELS-The European Commission today is expected to issue a rule that could put advertising aimed at children in danger of being outlawed.

At issue is whether sanctions should be imposed over a yearlong Greek ban against toy advertising. If action is not taken against Greece, then other countries which oppose ads targeting youngsters will use the Greek ban as a precedent to justify their own restrictions.

Sweden outlaws all ads to children. Ireland is at the point of introducing a similar blanket ban initially for two hours in the afternoon on TV, but has postponed imposing the ban until after the EC vote.

Belgium law requires a five-minute gap between children's programs and any commercial, making advertising to youngsters impracticable.

Opponents of advertising restrictions argue that Greece's ban is an unfair, protectionist measure designed to help Greek toy makers who cannot match the marketing clout of foreign competitors.

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