Minutes of 05/10/2000 - Provisional Edition

Parental control of television broadcasting


European Parliament resolution on the Commission communication 'Study on Parental Control of Television Broadcasting' (COM(1999) 371 - C5-0324/1999 - 1999/2210(COS))

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Commission communication (COM(1999) 371 - C5-0324/1999),

-  having regard to European Parliament and Council Directive 97/36/EC amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities - Directive 89/552/EEC (hereinafter referred to as the 'Television without frontiers' directive)(1),

-  having regard to the Council recommendation of 24 September 1998 on the development of the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and information services industry by promoting national frameworks aimed at achieving a comparable and effective level of protection of minors and human dignity(2),

-  having regard to Council Decision 1999/297/EC of 26 April 1999 establishing a Community statistical information infrastructure relating to the industry and markets of the audiovisual and related sectors(3),

-  having regard to its resolution of 6 September 2000 on the Commission communication on principles and guidelines for the Community's audiovisual policy in the digital age (COM(1999) 657 - C5-0324/1999)(4),

-  having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport (A5-0258/2000),

A.  whereas decisive action must be taken to tackle the increase in violence and other items which are a risk to young people in television programmes and audiovisual services transmitted via networks, in the interests of the psychological wellbeing of children,

B.  whereas effective systems should be introduced by operators, via parental control mechanisms, within a legal framework and against the background of the different cultural, social and legal values of the Member States,

C.  whereas consciousness-raising campaigns should be conducted at national and regional level on the protection of minors in the media context, involving families and the educational world,

D.  having regard to the conclusions of the Commission study(5) as regards the means available in Europe for applying filtering technology to television programmes,

E.  whereas the technological and commercial aspects should be dealt with under the DVB and the Member States should ensure the availability to all families of television filtering devices at an affordable price,

F.  whereas an expert group should be set up, consisting of high-level personalities appointed by the Member States, to contribute to the definition of minimum criteria for the protection of minors in the media context,

G.  whereas the technical availability of filter systems cannot, and should not, be a substitute for the programming and provider responsibility of media enterprises and other providers,

H.  whereas measures to protect young people should not be confined to conventional television, but should also relate to the growing volume of multimedia and Internet offerings,

1.  Notes with dismay the rising wave of violence to which children are exposed daily by television; is deeply concerned at the consequences and related social effects;

2.  Believes that, as a matter of urgency, all television operators in the EU should agree a code of self-regulation in respect of the protection of minors;

3.  Welcomes the Commission's clearly maintained commitment, in respect of Article 22 of the 'Television without frontiers' directive, to sponsoring a study of parental control systems for television; expresses its appreciation of the quality of the study of parental control systems carried out and the wealth of data it contains;

4.  Calls on the Commission to continue with its activity of analysis and to include, in the Community statistical programme for the audiovisual sector, the collection of specific data concerning parental control which should not be confined to conventional television but should be extended to include multimedia offerings as well;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, particularly in the light of the growing volume of multimedia and Internet offerings, to stress in all legislative measures the programme and provider responsibility of multimedia enterprises and other providers and to provide adequate measures for prosecuting infringements, should the existing legal framework not prove adequate;

6.  Believes it necessary to distinguish between the technological aspects and the legal and cultural dimension of parental control over television watching;

7.  Notes the conclusions on European television systems (analogue and digital) included in the study sponsored by the Commission; hopes that the work of Digital Video Broadcasting will have a favourable impact in the near future for both undertakings and families;

8.  Emphasises the need to ensure the availability to all families of television filtering devices at an affordable price; calls on the Member States to ensure the achievement of this objective, with particular reference to the less-favoured strata and to the areas most characterised by social tensions;

9.  Believes that there must be a wide-ranging and detailed debate on the ethical and legal aspects of the protection of minors in the media context, involving the educational world, families' associations, persons from the communications and entertainment worlds, local authorities, representatives of civil society and religious groups;

10.  Regards the teaching of media skills to children, young persons and adults for the use, exercising their own responsibility, of multimedia offerings as indispensable, and therefore calls on the Commission to conduct another study in this area to identify ways in which people in all age groups can be prepared for coping in an aware fashion with the growing volume of offerings in the digital age;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 202, 30.7.1997, p. 60 and OJ L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23.
(2) 2 OJ L 270, 7.10.1998, p. 48.
(3) OJ L 117, 5.5.1999, p. 39.
(4) 4 Texts adopted, Item 11.
(5) Study on Parental Control of Television Broadcasting, March 1999, drawn up by Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies; available on the World Wide Web at:http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg10/avpolicy/key_doc/parental_control/index.html