The Council has reached today a general approach on the proposal for a revised directive on audiovisual media services (AVMS) . The aim of the proposal is to respond to the unprecedented technological and market changes that the digital shift has brought about in order to boost the competitiveness of Europe’s audiovisual industry, while preserving fundamental values such as the protection of minors, media pluralism, cultural diversity and consumer protection.
The Commission proposal further aligns rules for TV broadcasting and on-demand services and extends the scope of the directive to video-sharing platforms. They will have to comply with rules on the protection of minors and the protection of all citizens against hate speech and violence.
The proposal simplifies the rules governing the “country of origin principle” (whereby service providers are subject only to the rules applicable in the country were they have their headquarters). It also establishes stricter obligations for the promotion of European works for on-demand services.
Following intensive work at Council during the Slovak and Maltese Presidency, a compromise text proposed by the Maltese Presidency was agreed today by the Council, on the basis of the following elements:
- the scope of the directive has been extended to include “social media” services, where the provision of audiovisual content forms an essential part of such services;
- jurisdiction rules are streamlined and cooperation procedures have been strengthened to deal with problems relating to cross-border services, for instance those arising from providers established in one country but targeting an audience in another.Furthermore, a 2 months deadline has to be respected by national regulators if they receive a request from another Member State;
- the promotion of European works will also apply to on-demand service providers through a requirement for a minimum 30% quota of European works in their catalogues and the possibility for members states to require a financial contribution from media service providers, including those established in another member state, with exemptions for start-ups and small enterprises.
Rules on audiovisual commercial communications will also become more flexible. Provisions on the independence of national regulatory authorities, the transparency of media ownership and the need to develop media literacy are also included.
Minister Bonnici said “We are very proud to have reached an agreement on audio-visual media services. This is a complex directive which touches on very sensitive issues such as the internal market, fundamental rights and freedoms, cultural diversity and the protection of minors.
But the marketplace and technology are developing rapidly. We have to ensure that the relevant rules keep pace with these changes. Today’s agreement in the Council constitutes a further step forward in the completion of the Digital Single Market, which is vital for Europe’s future prosperity.
The agreement at the Council will pave the way for starting negotiations with the European Parliament, with a view to adopting the directive as soon as possible.
The Commission presented its proposal in May 2016 as part of its Digital Single Market Strategy.
The proposal has been under examination in Council during two presidencies and a progress report was presented by the Slovak Presidency in November 2016.
The Culture and Education Committee (CULT) voted its report on 25 April 2017 and the EP plenary granted a mandate to the CULT Committee on 17 May to start negotiations with the Council.