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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
June 12 , 2006
(202) 289-8928
PFF and ICRA Hold Joint Brussels Roundtable
EU Commissioner Viviane Reding to Offer Opening Address

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Progress & Freedom Foundation and the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) will be co-hosting a private roundtable discussion on Wednesday, June 14th in Brussels, Belgium near the headquarters of the European Commission to discuss issues surrounding digital content. “Mission Impossible? - Protecting Children and Free Expression in Our New, Digital Content World,” will assemble content providers and communications industry representatives to discuss the role of private content controls and governmental regulation in light of today's converging media platforms.

Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media for the European Commission, will give the opening address at the roundtable. In her position, Commissioner Reding oversees the regulation of audiovisual content, and has proposed a new Audiovisual Directive to reform the "Television Without Frontiers Directive". Reding also leads the "Safer Internet plus Programme," that attempts to address "harmful" online content throughout the European Union.

"The challenge of protecting children while also safeguarding freedom of speech has always been a difficult balancing act," explains event co-host Adam Thierer, PFF Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom. "With this event, we hope to find new, self-regulatory solutions that can help us achieve this balance while also avoiding excessive government intervention." Thierer has written extensively on content controls and government media regulation. Recently, Thierer published, "Parents Have Many Tools to Combat Objectionable Media Content," a Progress on Point that provides an extensive list of tools available to parents to block objectionable content, illustrating that federal legislation is not needed.

"As ever more digital content flows across borders and devices become increasingly mobile, protecting children from potentially harmful content is more and more difficult," said Stephen Balkam, CEO at ICRA. "Bringing together representatives from all areas of the global digital media industry, as well as law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies, to candidly debate the topic, enables us to help shape the new tools and methods needed, in order to better protect children online, whilst maintaining the rights of free speech."

For more information on PFF's and ICRA's activities concerning parental content controls, industry regulation and First Amendment issues, please visit their websites at and, respectively.

The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) is an international, non-profit organization of internet leaders working to develop a safer internet. ICRA has long believed that self-regulation leads to the best balance between the free flow of digital content and protecting children from potentially harmful material.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation