Audiovisual Media Services Directive
Commission looks into AVMSD implementation
By Nathalie Vandystadt | Tuesday 29 March 2011
The European Commission has written to sixteen member states requesting information within ten weeks on their implementation of the new Television Without Frontiers Directive. Implementation of this directive should have been carried out by the end of 2009. “The questions raised vary from one member state to another. The requests for information do not imply that the directive has been incorrectly implemented by the member states concerned but simply that, at this stage, the Commission has some outstanding questions concerning their implementation of the directive,” the Commission said in a statement, on 29 March.
The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMSD) aims to adapt EU legislation on the liberalisation of television programmes within the EU to a changing market, taking into account developments, such as on-demand services, and relaxing rules on publicity. The directive is based on the ‘country of origin’ principle; providers of media services are only subject to the law of their country of origin, with limited exceptions, such as in cases of incitement to hatred, where the law of the country of destination would apply.
The sixteen member states concerned are Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Slovakia and Sweden. The Commission has sent a letter "to verify whether and how the different rules have been respected".
Three member states – Poland, Portugal and Slovenia – have not yet notified the Commission that they have transposed the directive. The Commission is in the process of analysing the measures of which it has been notified by the rest of the member states (Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Latvia). Once this process has been completed, a second round of letters may be sent in the second quarter of 2011.
The first analysis by the Commission touches on the following issues:
- The 'country of origin' principle and jurisdiction issues concerning audiovisual services
- Audiovisual commercial communications (including product placement, sponsorship television advertising, and teleshopping)
- Basic obligations under the directive (such as identification requirements, rules on incitement to hatred and rules on accessibility, balanced coverage, and registration of on-demand services)
- The right of reply (anyone whose legitimate interests have been damaged by an assertion of incorrect facts in a television programme must have the right of reply or equivalent remedies)
- The protection of minors
- The promotion of European works
- Events of major importance to be broadcast on free to air television and short news extracts
- Cooperation between regulators. For example, France is concerned by this issue, but a diplomatic source has said that this does not relate to the debate on the nomination of the president of its regulatory body, the CSA, buy the president of the republic.