HomeInsightsEuropean Parliament, Council and Commission reach preliminary agreement on main elements of revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive

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The Commission explains that negotiations will officially conclude in June when the European Parliament, Council and Commission will meet to finalise and discuss the last remaining technical details of the proposal. After formal confirmation by the Council and the European Parliament’s plenary vote, the new rules will have to be transposed into national law.

The Commission says that the preliminary agreement “paves the way for a fairer regulatory environment for the entire audiovisual sector, including on-demand services and video sharing platforms”. The new rules strengthen the protection of minors and reinforce the battle against hate speech in all audiovisual content. They promote European audiovisual productions and guarantee the independence of audiovisual regulators.

Key elements of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive include:

  • strengthened Country of Origin Principle, with more clarity on which Member State’s rules apply in each case, and the same procedures for both TV broadcasters and on-demand service providers, as well as possibilities for derogations in the event of public security concerns and serious risks to public health;
  • better protection of minors against harmful content, whether on TV or video-on-demand services. The new rules envisage that video-sharing platforms put appropriate measures in place to protect minors;
  • European audiovisual rules extended to video-sharing platforms: the revised Directive will also apply to user-generated videos shared on platforms, e.g. Facebook, when providing audiovisual content is an essential functionality of the service;
  • stronger rules against hate speech and public provocation to commit terrorist offences that prohibit incitement to violence or hatred and provocation to commit terrorist offences. The rules will also apply to video-sharing platforms to protect people from incitement to violence or hatred and content constituting criminal offences;
  • promoting European works in on-demand catalogues with at least 30% share of European content;
  • more flexibility in television advertising: the revised rules give broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown, with the overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time maintained between 6:00 to 18:00. Instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day; and
  • independence of audiovisual regulators will be reinforced by ensuring that they are legally distinct and functionally independent from government and any other public or private body.

To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here.