Insights European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services calls for uniform definitions and European rules for transparency in relation to political advertising


ERGA says that to protect democratic societies in the digital age, rules to enable free and independent elections which take the online sphere into account are needed. ERGA welcomes the European Commission’s announcement in its European Democracy Action Plan for legislation on the transparency of sponsored political content. In its response to the ongoing public consultation on this initiative, ERGA highlights two key points:

  • uniform definitions: media consumption is mostly now via a few large, international platforms, which are aware of the issue of political advertising; platforms each have their own definition of what constitutes a political advertisement, set out in their terms and conditions; for legal certainty and effective enforcement of transparency obligations, ERGA calls for a uniform definition of a political advertisement; this is not industry’s responsibility, it says, but the legislature’s responsibility;
  • European rules on transparency: ERGA proposes uniform rules on transparency of political advertising throughout Europe so that more information is available for each individual ad; ERGA also stresses the need to increase public scrutiny.

ERGA also says that a legislative initiative should be in the form of a Directive in order to give Member States enough leeway to adapt the new rules to their existing national laws. Regulation in political advertising varies greatly across Europe and this should be taken into account by giving Member States room for manoeuvre in implementation, it says. To read ERGA’s press release in full, click here.