Procedure : 2012/2132(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0055/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0055/2013

Debates :

PV 20/05/2013 - 23
CRE 20/05/2013 - 22

Votes :

PV 22/05/2013 - 7.8
CRE 22/05/2013 - 7.8

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0215

REPORT     
PDF 247kWORD 179k
28 February 2013
PE 500.577v02-00 A7-0055/2013

on the Implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

(2012/2132(INI))

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Piotr Borys

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

(2012/2132(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 20 October 2005,

–   having regard to the Protocol on the system of public broadcasting in the Member States annexed to the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, 11997D/PRO/09(1),

–   having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(2),

–   having regard to Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising(3),

–   having regard to Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’)(4),

–   having regard to Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)(5) amended by Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009(6),

–   having regard to Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA(7),

–   having regard to Decision No 1718/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 concerning the implementation of the Programme of support for the European Audiovisual sector (MEDIA 2007)(8),

–   having regard to the Commission interpretative communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in the ‘Television without frontiers’ Directive(9),

–   having regard to Recommendation 2006/952/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and on-line information services industry(10),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Council on the protection of minors in the digital world(11),

–   having regard to the Commission Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing the Creative Europe Programme (COM(2011)0785),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 1 December 2008 ‘Towards an accessible information society’ (COM(2008)0804),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 3 March 2010 ‘Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 26 August 2010 ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ (COM(2010)0245),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2008 on media literacy in a digital world(12),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on public service broadcasting in the digital era: the future of the dual system(13),

–   having regard its resolution of 16 November 2011 on European cinema in the digital era(14),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers(15),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2012 on the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union(16),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 on protecting children in the digital world(17),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation 2009/625/EC of 20 August 2009 on media literacy in the digital environment for a more competitive audiovisual and content industry and an inclusive knowledge society(18),

–   having regard to the First Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 September 2012 on the Application of Articles 13, 16 and 17 of Directive 2010/13/EU for the period 2009-2010, Promotion of European works in EU scheduled and on-demand audiovisual media services (COM(2012)0522),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 26 September 2012 ‘Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU’ (COM(2012)0537),

–   having regard to the First Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 May 2012 on the application of Directive 2010/13/EU ‘Audiovisual Media Service Directive’, Audiovisual Media Services and Connected Devices: Past and Future Perspectives (COM(2012)0203),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Legal Affairs, and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0055/2013),

A. whereas the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the backbone of EU media regulation;

B.  whereas audiovisual media services are as much cultural services as they are economic services;

C. whereas the AVMSD is based on the principle of technological neutrality and thus covers all services with audiovisual content irrespective of the technology used to deliver it, guaranteeing a level playing field for all audiovisual media service providers;

D. whereas the AVMSD guarantees a free flow of audiovisual media services as an internal market instrument , and respects the right to freedom of expression and access to information while protecting the public interest objectives, including authors’ rights, media freedom, freedom of information and freedom of expression.

E.  whereas the AVMSD aims to take into account the cultural nature of audiovisual media services, which are of particular importance for society and democracy as vectors of identities and values, and to preserve independent cultural development in the Member States while safeguarding cultural diversity in the Union, particularly through minimum harmonisation and the promotion of European audiovisual works;

F.  whereas technological convergence means that consumers will in future distinguish less and less between linear and non-linear services;

G. whereas the goal should be a level playing field, as the different levels of regulation for linear and non-linear services are no longer recognisable for consumers, which in turn can lead to a distortion of competition;

H. whereas the audiovisual media services markets continue to experience significant changes in technology as well as developments in business practices and models, influencing the way content is delivered and accessed by viewers;

I.   whereas the accessibility of audiovisual media services is essential for guaranteeing the right of persons with a disability and of the elderly to participate and be integrated in the social and cultural life of the EU, in particular with the development of new content delivery platforms such as IPTV and Connected TV;

J.   whereas specific focus should be placed on media literacy in the context of the increasing pace of technological developments and the convergence of media platforms;

K. whereas the on-going technological changes have made the protection of minors an even more pressing and challenging issue;

L.  whereas some Member States have not transposed the AVMSD in a timely manner or have not fully or correctly implemented it;

M. whereas in most Member States the transposition of Article 13 of the AVMSD on the promotion of European works by on-demand services is not prescriptive enough to meet the cultural diversity objective spelled out in the directive;

N. whereas neither a full assessment of the implementation of the AVMSD nor a thorough evaluation of its effectiveness can therefore be carried out;

O. whereas the expansion of the audiovisual media services markets with the development of hybrid services presents new challenges with regard to a wide range of issues, such as competition, intellectual property rights, the evolution of existing and the emergence of new forms of audiovisual commercial communications, and overlay advertising which challenges programme integrity and puts into question the adequacy and effectiveness of the AVMSD, as well as its relationship with other instruments of EU law;

P.  whereas the provisions of Article 15 of the AVMSD balance the interests of all stakeholders in a fair manner by ensuring respect for, on the one hand, the public’s right to access information and, on the other hand, the right to property and the freedom to conduct a business;

State of play

1.  Reminds the Commission of its commitment to the smart regulation agenda, and the importance of making timely and pertinent ex-post controls of EU legislation in order to manage the quality of regulation throughout the policy cycle;

2.  Notes in this respect that, under Article 33 of the AVMSD, the Commission was under an obligation to submit the report on the application of the Directive no later than 19 December 2011;

3.  Notes that the Commission has submitted its application report with a significant delay by submitting it on 4 May 2012;

4.  Notes also that the Member States have implemented the AVMSD in a particularly diverse manner;

5.  Stresses that the AVMSD remains the appropriate instrument to govern the EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media and to uphold the principles of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

6.  Notes in particular that the ‘country of origin’ principle, when properly applied, gives broadcasters important clarity and certainty about their operational arrangements;

7.  Deplores that the Commission application report does not assess the need for a possible adaptation of the AVMSD in view of these findings as required by Article 33;

8.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the consistent and full implementation of the AVMSD in the Member States and, in particular, to ensure that all due account is taken of the specific definitions contained in the recitals to this Directive when it is transposed into national law;

9.  Strongly supports a technology-neutral approach, in view of evolving viewing and delivery patterns, to facilitate increased consumer choice; calls, in this regard, for a full impact assessment of the current state of play on the market and of the regulatory framework;

10. Notes the Commission’s intention to publish shortly a policy document on convergence with regard to Connected TV and connected devices that will launch a public consultation on all issues arising from these new developments;

11. Encourages the Commission to examine, in the event of any review of the AVMSD, to what extent, if any, uncertainties or inaccuracies in the definitions have led to difficulties in implementation in the Member States, so that these issues can be resolved in the context of this review;

12. Notes, in relation to the ‘over-the-top’ delivery of audiovisual content, that it is necessary to specify what is meant by ‘stakeholders’, these being, at the very least, public and private television companies, internet providers, consumers and creators;

13. Calls on the Commission to continue to ensure that audiovisual media services, given their dual nature as providers of cultural as well as economic services, remain excluded from any accord on liberalisation reached in negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);

Accessibility

14. Stresses that the Commission application report fails to address substantively the issue of accessibility as referred to in Article 7 of the AVMSD, and regrets that the effectiveness of the Member States’ implementing rules in this regard is not addressed;

15. Notes that in many Member States the infrastructure to provide such services does not yet exist, and that it will take time for some Member States to meet these requirements; encourages the Member States concerned to attend to this matter as soon as possible in order to allow for the practical implementation of Article 7;

16. Calls on the Commission to address this deficit by providing a regular overview of the measures taken by the Member States, and an assessment of their efficacy, so as to ensure that audiovisual media services are continually made more accessible;

17. Highlights the fact that, in an increasingly digital environment, public media services play a crucial role in ensuring that citizens are able to access information online, and acknowledges, in this regard, that the provision of internet services by public media services contributes directly to their mission;

18. Takes the view that the concentration of media ownership may undermine freedom of information and, in particular, the right to receive information;

19. Takes the view, therefore, that a proper balance should be struck between the objectives of the AVMSD and the need to safeguard the freedom to distribute and access content, in order to avoid the risks of concentration and loss of diversity;

20. Acknowledges the different business models in place to finance content, and emphasises the importance of affordability of access for different consumers;

21. Points to the need for wider accessibility of programmes, in particular those rendered via on-demand services, through further developments in, inter alia, audio description, audio/spoken subtitles, sign language and menu navigation, notably of electronic programme guides (EPGs);

22. Recognises, furthermore, that the Member States should encourage media service providers and manufacturers of supporting devices under their jurisdiction to make their services more accessible, particularly to the elderly and to people with disabilities, such as the hard of hearing and the visually impaired;

23. Welcomes the personal commitment made by Commissioner Barnier in relation to the ongoing negotiations on a Treaty on copyright limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities;

24. Calls on the Commission to ensure that aids for persons with impaired vision are generally available for accessing audiovisual products and services;

25. Believes that Article 7 of the AVMSD should therefore be reworded in order to include stronger, binding language, requiring media service providers to ensure that their services are made available to people with disabilities;

26. Stresses, however, that the market for non-linear services is still at a relatively early stage of development and that any new obligations placed on providers must reflect this;

Exclusive rights and short news reports

27. Calls on the Commission, in its next report on the application of the AVMSD, to assess whether the Member States have implemented this directive in a way that preserves the necessary and existing balance between, on the one hand, safeguarding the principle of freedom of access to information, especially on events of high interest to society, and, on the other hand, the protection of rights holders;

28. Welcomes the approach taken by the Commission and the European Court of Justice in relation to the interpretation of Article 14 of the AVMSD; calls for a continued broad interpretation of the term ‘events which are regarded as being of major importance for society’, including sports and entertainment events that are of general interest, and encourages the Member States to draw up lists of such events;

29. Calls on the Commission to include in its next report an assessment of the ways the Member States have implemented Article 15 of the AVMSD, by looking more particularly at how they ensure that events of high interest to the public, which are transmitted on an exclusive basis by a broadcaster under their jurisdiction, are used for the purposes of short news reports in general news programmes;

30. Hopes that the Member States, in their application of Article 15 of the Directive, promote a high level of diversity in the number of events of significant public interest that are shown in general news programmes through short news reports;

Promotion of European audiovisual works

31. Highlights that while most Member States comply with the rules relating to the promotion of European works, priority is still given to national works whilst the percentage of independent works on TV is on the decline;

32. Regrets that the data provided are insufficient to draw any conclusions on the promotion of European works by on-demand services providers;

33. Calls, in this regard, for the reporting requirement on European works to include at least a breakdown by category – cinema production, fiction and non-fiction TV production, and show-type or entertainment formats – and by means of distribution, and urges the Member States to provide relevant data in this regard;

34. Stresses the lack of detailed reporting under Article 13 of the AVMSD on the dual obligation to promote the production of, and the access to, European works in on-demand services, and asks the Commission to clarify this point while also taking into account that such services are still in their infancy and that drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of promotion criteria applied to on-demand services is difficult;

35. Calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to act urgently to ensure the effective implementation of Article 13 of the AVMSD;

36. Calls on the Member States to take effective measures to promote better synergies among regulatory authorities, audiovisual media services providers and the Commission, so that EU films can reach a wider audience both within and beyond the EU on linear and non-linear services;

37. Recommends strengthening the role of the European Audiovisual Observatory, as this would be an appropriate solution for collecting data concerning the promotion of European audiovisual works;

Independent works

38. Stresses the importance of implementing Article 17 of the AVMSD in a satisfactory manner with regard to the average broadcasting time for European works by independent producers, and emphasises the autonomy of the Member States in this respect; encourages the Member States and broadcasters to go beyond the minimum level of 10 % suggested in the directive;

Protection of minors

39. Takes note of self-regulatory initiatives and codes of conduct designed to limit children’s and minors’ exposure to food advertising and marketing, such as those launched within the framework of the Commission’s Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health;

40. Recognises the efforts made by the advertising industry and members of the EU Pledge, to respond to the AVMSD’s call for codes of conduct for commercial communications, accompanying or included in children’s programmes, of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt;

41. Stresses that co-regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives, particularly in the field of advertising that targets minors, not least against the background of the Commission’s new strategy on corporate social responsibility (CSR), which is defined as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’, represent an advance on the prior situation because they offer a means of reacting more swiftly to developments in the rapidly changing world of the media;

42. Notes, however, that such initiatives may not always be sufficiently effective in all Member States and that they should be regarded as complementary to legal provisions in realising the aims of the AVMSD, particularly in an online context;

43. Stresses that it is essential to find the right balance between voluntary measures and mandatory regulation in this respect;

44. Stresses, therefore, that such initiatives need to be monitored regularly to ensure that they are enforced, along with future legally binding requirements that may be necessary to ensure the effective protection of minors;

45. Calls on the Commission, in the event of a revision of the AVMSD, to give these relatively new regulatory tools a greater role in the protection of minors in the media and in the regulation of advertising; without, however, eschewing public-authority regulation or supervision;

46. Urges the Member States to continue to encourage audiovisual media service providers to develop codes of conduct with regard to inappropriate audiovisual commercial communications in children’s programmes;

47. Calls on the Commission to consider how the basic requirements of the AVMSD applicable to non-linear services can be extended to other online content and services which are currently out of its scope, and what steps need to be taken to create a level playing field for all operators; calls on the Commission to present to Parliament the results of its considerations no later than 31 December 2013;

48. Acknowledges Member States’ achievements in providing protection against content inciting hatred on the grounds of race, sex, nationality and religion;

49. Highlights the need for a comparative, pan-European study to provide further understanding of how children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ media consumption behaviour is evolving; believes that such a study would be beneficial to audiovisual policymakers at EU level and in the Member States;

Advertising

50. Notes that the 12-minute hourly advertising limit has been breached in some Member States;

51. Urges the Member States concerned to implement fully, correctly and without delay the provisions of the AVMSD in this respect;

52. Reiterates that the proportion of televised advertising and teleshopping spots should not exceed 12 minutes per hour;

53. Is concerned that the 12-minute limitation is regularly breached in some Member States;

54. Urges the Commission, while monitoring compliance with existing rules setting out qualitative and quantitative stipulations on advertising, to have an eye to future challenges, e.g. that of Connected TV, in terms of the competitiveness and the sustainable financing of audiovisual media services;

55. Highlights, in particular, the need to monitor commercial formats devised to circumvent this restriction, especially surreptitious advertising, which can confuse consumers;

56. Asks the Commission to submit, as soon as possible, the clarifications needed of the issues it has identified in the field of commercial communications concerning sponsorship, self-promotion and product placement;

57. Calls on the Commission to analyse the effectiveness of the regulations in place and to monitor compliance with the rules on advertising aimed at children and minors;

58. Calls, furthermore, for a ban on prejudicial advertising, as described in Article 9 of the AVMSD, during programmes for children and young people; recommends, as a basis for future reform of the legislative framework, an analysis of the best practices followed in this field in certain countries;

59. Regrets that the necessary, updated version of the interpretative communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising has still not been issued;

60. Welcomes the Commission’s intention to update its interpretative communication on certain aspects of the provisions on televised advertising in 2013;

Media literacy

61. Takes note of the findings by the Commission with regard to the level of media literacy in the Member States;

62. Notes that access to channels, and the choice of audiovisual services, has increased significantly;

63. Stresses that, in order to achieve a true digital single market in Europe, further efforts are therefore needed in the field of improving media literacy among citizens, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote media literacy for all EU citizens, in particular children and minors, through initiatives and coordinated actions, in order to increase the critical understanding of audiovisual media services, and to stimulate public debate and civic participation, whilst encouraging the active participation of all stakeholders, in particular the media industry;

64. Encourages, in particular, the Member States to integrate media literacy and e-skills, especially in relation to digital media, into their respective school curricula;

Future challenges

65. Regrets that the Commission only partially carried out its reporting task in keeping with its obligation under Article 33 of the AVMSD, and calls for an interim evaluation before the next Commission application report;

66. Calls on the Member States to increase cooperation and coordination in the framework of the contact committee as established under Article 29 of the AVMSD, in order to increase implementation efficiency and coherence;

67. Calls on the Commission to monitor closely the development of hybrid services in the EU, in particular Connected TV, to establish in its Green Paper on Connected TV the various issues they raise and to pursue those issues through public consultation;

68. Asks the Commission to take into consideration the following aspects when launching public consultations on connected or hybrid television: standardisation, technological neutrality, the challenge of personalised services (especially for persons with disabilities), problems related to multi-cloud security, accessibility to users, protecting children and human dignity;

69. Calls on the Commission to address, in particular, the uncertainties surrounding the use of the term ‘on-demand audiovisual media services’ and, with an eye both to greater consistency in EU legislation affecting on-demand audiovisual services and to likely developments in media convergence, to establish a clearer definition of the term so that the regulatory aims of the AVMSD can be achieved more effectively;

70. Is convinced – given both the market practices of media services providers and platform operators and the developing potential of the relevant technology – that the level of data protection needs to be improved and standardised throughout the EU, while continuing to provide for anonymity in the use of audiovisual media services as the norm;

o

o        o

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

(1)

OJ C 340, 10.11.1997, p 109.

(2)

OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.

(3)

OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 21.

(4)

OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1.

(5)

OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 51.

(6)

OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 11.

(7)

OJ L 335, 17.12.2011, p. 1.

(8)

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006, p.12.

(9)

OJ C 102, 28.4.2004, p. 2.

(10)

OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 72.

(11)

OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, p. 15.

(12)

OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 9.

(13)

OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 50.

(14)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0506.

(15)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0209.

(16)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0324.

(17)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0428.

(18)

OJ L 227, 29.8.2009, p. 9.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The main aim of the report is to evaluate the effectiveness of Directive 2010/13/EU on Audiovisual Media Services and the progress made in its transposition. The Directive is the cornerstone of media regulation in the European Union. Under Article 33, the Commission is required to submit a report to the European Parliament on the application of the Directive in the Member States every three years. Publication of the Commission’s first report was significantly delayed owing, inter alia, to the fact that some Member States had not fully transposed the Directive within the indicated deadline.

It is clear that the Directive has been implemented to different degrees in the Member States.

The AVMSD is an internal market instrument that combines the right to provide audiovisual services with the right to freedom of expression and information and the protection of important public interest objectives. It is important to recall that the AVMSD was drafted in such a way that it would still be appropriate despite the evolution of technologies, as it is based on the principle of technological neutrality. The wording of the Directive is the fruit of long and difficult negotiations between stakeholders, and the compromises reached should be considered balanced and designed to serve effectively the interests of citizens and entrepreneurs.

The application of the Directive also has a positive influence on the development of the market. According to European Audiovisual Observatory data, there are currently – in late 2012 – more than 8 000 television service providers and more than 2 000 on-demand service providers in the European Union.

The first part of this report provides a qualitative evaluation of all of the provisions, while the second part concerns future challenges relating to dynamic advances in technology, specifically Connected TV.

Accessibility

In this area, the rapporteur points out that the Commission’s report does not fully address the issue of accessibility, nor does it assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the appropriate provisions in individual Member States. With regard to the report’s unsatisfactory conclusions, the rapporteur calls on the Commission to monitor the situation regarding the provision of media services to people with visual or hearing impairments. It is also vital for the Member States to encourage broadcasters to gain a better understanding of the needs of these people and to undertake further work to develop technologies that will assure wider access to programmes for all citizens through further developments in, inter alia, audio description, audio/spoken subtitles, sign language and menu navigation, with specific reference to electronic programme guides (EPGs).

Promotion of European works

From the European Parliament’s point of view, the promotion of cultural diversity through the distribution of European works is a key objective. On the basis of the report submitted by the Commission on the application of Articles 13, 16 and 17 of Directive 2010/13/EU on the promotion of European works and works produced by independent producers, it may be stated that the data submitted by the Commission are insufficient for the reaching of suitable conclusions. There are also doubts relating to the monitoring method used in the Member States. According to a report submitted by the Commission, the increase in the number of European works broadcast in 2010 compared with 2009 amounted to 0.5%. The average transmission time devoted to European works in the EU was 63.8% in 2009 and 64.3% in 2010. According to data submitted for 2010 on the broadcasting of works produced by independent producers, a 0.3% fall was recorded compared with 2009. The EU-average proportion reserved for independent productions was 34.1% in 2009 and 33.8% in 2010(1). All Member States met the minimum quota set by the Directive of 10% for independent productions. However, the levels attained in the different Member States varied. The conclusions presented by the Commission are not entirely satisfactory. In this regard, the rapporteur calls on the Commission to monitor progress in the Member States and calls on the national bodies to encourage greater broadcasting of European works and to present their full conclusions on this issue in full and on a regular basis.

Protection of minors

The rapporteur attaches particular importance to this issue, since minors are most exposed to the dangers arising, in particular, from commercial communications. At issue here are advertisements for alcoholic beverages, unhealthy products or advertisements encouraging particular consumption patterns. The rapporteur praises the actions taken by the Member States to protect minors, including the tightening of national provisions. He also welcomes initiatives such as the EU Alcohol and Health Forum and the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

On the issue of protecting minors, the drafting of codes of conduct should be encouraged in the Member States in order to deal with the issue of improper audiovisual commercial communications in children’s programmes – especially communications relating to sugary, salty or fatty food products and beverages.

It should be stressed that self-regulatory initiatives cannot, under any circumstances, replace legally binding requirements, which are crucial to ensuring that minors are protected effectively.

Freedom and pluralism of the media, the right to information, the principle of country of origin

The rapporteur welcomes the fact that the freedom and pluralism of the media (Articles 3 and 4), which are principles of democratic society enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the right of citizens to information on events of high interest to the public (Articles 14 and 15) were included in the Directive. It should be pointed out that citizens and Member States are increasingly frequently asserting their rights on the basis of these provisions.

Article 2 of the Directive, in which the principle of country of origin is addressed, responds to the challenges of the internal market. Services may be freely provided throughout the EU provided that they comply with the legal provisions in force in the Member State in which the service originates.

Prohibition of incitement to hatred

The rapporteur feels that the impact of the Directive can be gauged by looking at one of its key aspects, namely the prohibition of incitement to hatred on the basis of race, sex, gender or nationality (Article 6). The Commission’s report records only one example of the Directive being breached by one satellite station, Al Aqsa TV, which broadcast programmes with anti-Semitic content. Following the Commission’s intervention, the broadcasting of those programmes ceased.

Commercial communications

The issue of commercial communications is, in the light of new forms of product promotion, of particular importance. The Commission’s report states that cases of the 12-minute rule being violated were identified in several Member States. The rapporteur therefore calls on the Commission to continue to monitor compliance with this rule. Also of great importance in the context of commercial communications are sponsorship, self-promotion and product placement. It must be stressed that in this era of dynamic media development, many new forms of advertising are arising against which against which it is difficult to apply uniform rules. This is particularly valid in the case of Connected TV. This may give rise to dangers for consumers. The rapporteur therefore calls for further analysis of this issue to be undertaken, particularly at national level in the Member States. Another issue that merits attention is the need to combat discrimination on the basis of sex, race or ethnic origin in advertisements. The problem of products being promoted directly or indirectly through the use of stereotypes clearly exists. It is therefore necessary to take effective action to combat stereotypes.

Media literacy

Under Article 33 of the Directive, the Commission must, if necessary, present proposals to adapt the Directive to developments in the field of audiovisual media services, taking into account technological developments and levels of media literacy in the Member States. However, the Commission has not met its obligations under Article 33. The rapporteur therefore calls on the Commission to present proposals on the issue of media literacy.

Media literacy is one of the key objectives of the Directive, especially given the challenges and dangers that Connected TV brings. The line between linear and non-linear services is being blurred, and this makes it difficult for consumers to distinguish between different forms of media and the sources of their content. The introduction of media literacy training programmes to education systems is within the competence of the Member States.

Future challenges

The dynamic acceleration of technological changes is having a huge impact on the audiovisual services market. The internet and television are converging, which means that operators are increasingly offering elements of second generation networks and the internet in modern television receivers. The line between linear and non-linear services is becoming less clear for consumers. Television defined as ‘Connected TV’ or ‘Hybrid TV’ is becoming increasingly popular. Furthermore, cultural and technological changes and increased access to broadband internet are giving millions of consumers the opportunity to watch traditional television programmes using tablets, smartphones or consoles. Connected TV brings with it both major opportunities and significant challenges, but we must remember to ensure that the key objectives set out in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive are achieved. Against the backdrop of new technological solutions, we must ask how we can effectively promote European works and the works of independent producers; protect consumers – including children – from the excessive influence of advertising; create a level playing field for broadcasters; protect freedom of expression and pluralism in the media, and promote media literacy – particularly among the youngest.

It should also be pointed out that the audiovisual services market is subject to strong international competition. More than 1 500 services are based outside the European Union, but they target their services at European markets. These broadcasters are not always bound by the same legal requirements as European broadcasters.

It is important that the Commission continues to analyse in depth the evolution of the markets and consumer behaviour with the development of such new services as well as the potential effects they have on the EU audiovisual markets, in the short and long term. The Parliament calls on the Commission to give, on the basis of these analyses, clear recommendations as to whether it is necessary to adjust the regulatory framework.

(1)

Data taken from First Report on the Application of Articles 13, 16 and 17 of Directive 2010/13/EU for the

period 2009-2010.


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (29.1.2013)

for the Committee on Culture and Education

on the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

(2012/2132(INI))

Rapporteur: Vicente Miguel Garcés Ramón

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Culture and Education, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the fact that most Member States have successfully implemented the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and calls on the remaining Member States to quickly follow suit; is concerned about the delayed transposition of the Directive, which aims at ensuring legal certainty in the Single Market while preserving cultural diversity, protecting consumers and safeguarding media pluralism in national legislations; urges the Member States which have still not adapted their legislation to do so as soon as possible;

2.  Welcomes the application by the Member States of internal market rules, particularly those concerning the free movement of audiovisual media services and the country of origin principle referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2010/13/EU;

3.  Considers that a proper balance should be struck between the objectives of this Directive and the freedom of distribution and access to content in order to avoid the risks of concentration and loss of diversity;

4.  Considers that the Member States should ensure that audiovisual media services are accessible; acknowledges the different business models in place to finance content and emphasises the importance of affordability of access for different consumers;

5.  Considers that the key objective of media regulation is to preserve the diversity of supply and suppliers;

6.  Stresses the importance of satisfactory implementation of Article 17 of the Directive related to the average broadcasting time for European works by independent producers and emphasises the autonomy of Member States in this respect; encourages the Member States and broadcasters to go beyond the minimum level of 10% suggested in Directive 2010/13/EU;

7.  Reiterates that the proportion of televised advertising and teleshopping spots should not exceed 12 minutes per hour; is concerned, however, that the 12-minute limitation is regularly breached in some Member States; highlights the need to monitor commercial formats devised to circumvent this restriction, especially surreptitious advertising, which can confuse consumers; calls for a ban on prejudicial advertising, as described in Article 9 of Directive 2010/13/EU, during programmes for children and young people; recommends an analysis of best practice in this field in certain countries as the basis for future reform of the legislative framework;

8.  Calls on the Commission to update in 2013 its interpretative Communication on television advertising to take account of experience gained under the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, and the EU Alcohol and Health Forum;

9.  Notes that access to channels and the choice of audiovisual services has increased significantly; stresses that, in order to achieve a true digital single market in Europe, further efforts are needed in the field of improving media literacy among citizens;

10. Draws attention to the approach adopted in recital 24 of Directive 2010/13/EU, which interprets the concept of ‘programme’ in a dynamic way, taking into account developments in television broadcasting in order to prevent disparities as regards free movement and competition and in order to respond to the target audience’s expectations vis-à-vis regulatory protection;

11. Supports the emphasis in Directive 2010/13/EU on encouraging the introduction of co-regulation and/or self-regulatory regimes, as referred to in Article 4(7):

12. Asks that audiovisual media services and their related devices give consideration to ease of use and consumption; stresses the need to define the concepts of ‘television service’ and ‘programme’ in order to ensure that these services are fully and equally accessible and that a level playing field applies for all programme providers in the internal market;

13. Notes, in relation to the ‘over-the-top’ delivery of audiovisual content, that it is necessary to specify what is meant by ‘stakeholders’, these being at the very least public and private television, internet providers, consumers and creators;

14. Strongly supports a technologically-neutral approach in view of evolving viewing and delivery patterns to facilitate increased consumer choice; in this regard, calls for a full impact assessment of the current state of play on the market and regulatory framework;

15. Notes that new technological developments such as the different contents (services) coming together on connected TV platforms is increasingly blurring the distinction between linear and non-linear services, a trend which can distort competition between contents (services) with very different regulatory requirements; calls therefore on the Commission to consider whether in this context Directives 2010/13/EU and 2000/31/EC should be subject to revision;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.1.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

2

3

Members present for the final vote

Preslav Borissov, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Birgit Collin-Langen, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Cornelis de Jong, Christian Engström, Dolores García-Hierro Caraballo, Evelyne Gebhardt, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Philippe Juvin, Hans-Peter Mayer, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Phil Prendergast, Mitro Repo, Heide Rühle, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Catherine Stihler, Emilie Turunen, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Jürgen Creutzmann, Anna Hedh, Constance Le Grip, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Konstantinos Poupakis, Patricia van der Kammen


OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs (23.1.2013)

for the Committee on Culture and Education

on the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

(2012/2132(INI))

Rapporteur: Françoise Castex

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on Culture and Education, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Reminds the Commission of its commitment to the smart regulation agenda, and the importance of making timely and pertinent ex-post controls of EU legislation in order to manage the quality of regulation throughout the policy cycle; notes in this respect that, under Article 33 of the Directive, the Commission was under an obligation to submit the report on the application of the Directive no later than 19 December 2011; notes that the report was not submitted until 4 May 2012; encourages the Commission to ensure proper and timely implementation of directives in the Member States;

2.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has finally presented a proposal for a directive on collective management of copyright; calls on the Commission and the Council to work together with Parliament to find a balanced solution regarding the rules applicable to collecting societies in the audiovisual sector, paying due attention to a high level of transparency, good governance and the question of music embedded in films and other audiovisual works; in this regard, calls on the Commission to ensure appropriate adjustments to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in order to ensure consistency between both Directives while respecting the rights of the property holder;

3.  Calls on the Commission, in its next report on the application of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, to assess whether the Member States have implemented the Directive in such a way as to protect right holders’ property while also safeguarding the principle of freedom of access to information;

4.  Takes note of the Commission’s Communication on Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe, which stresses the need for content distribution models that enhance access to, and the use of, all sorts of content, including audiovisual content; calls on the Commission to encourage flexible licensing agreements geared towards ensuring the efficiency of business models for the dissemination of legal content in the audiovisual sector, while making sure that legal certainty remains the prime consideration; looks forward in this regard to the Commission’s announced policy document on Connected TV;

5.  Is mindful of the fact that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is based on the principle of technological neutrality and thus covers all services with audiovisual content irrespective of the technology used to deliver it;

6.  Welcomes the personal commitment made by Commissioner Barnier in relation to the ongoing negotiations on a Treaty on copyright limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities; calls on the Commission to ensure that aids for persons with impaired vision are generally available for accessing audiovisual products and services; believes that Article 7 of the Directive should therefore be reworded in order to include stronger, binding language, requiring media service providers to ensure that their services are made available to people with disabilities;

7.  Believes that it is possible to take more action through alternative means of regulation, notably self- and co-regulatory initiatives under the Directive, particularly in the field of advertising that targets minors, not least against the background of the Commission’s new strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility, which is defined as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’; stresses that it is essential to find the right balance between voluntary measures and mandatory regulation in this respect.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

22.1.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Luigi Berlinguer, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Françoise Castex, Christian Engström, Giuseppe Gargani, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Sajjad Karim, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Jiří Maštálka, Alajos Mészáros, Evelyn Regner, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Dimitar Stoyanov, Rebecca Taylor, Rainer Wieland, Cecilia Wikström, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Piotr Borys, Vytautas Landsbergis, Eva Lichtenberger, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, József Szájer, Axel Voss


OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (31.1.2013)

for the Committee on Culture and Education

on the Implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

(2012/2132(INI))

Rapporteur: Cornelis de Jong

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Culture and Education, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Considers that concentration of media ownership may undermine freedom of information, in particular the right to receive information, and could lead to corruption and manipulation of public opinion; therefore asks the Commission to specify the ownership relations existing among the 7 500 broadcasters it has identified in the EU, with the aim of singling out the potential challenges relating to plurality in these media services; moreover, suggests a standardisation of provisions for regulators for the audiovisual sector in all Member States;

2.  Calls on the Commission to continue to monitor and address any violations of the 12-minute rule, to examine the real amount of advertising and to consider, in particular, whether there is a need for reducing the limit in view of possible complaints by consumers;

3.  Asks the Commission to submit as soon as possible the clarifications needed in respect of the issues it has identified in the field of commercial communications concerning sponsorship, self-promotion and product placement;

4.  Regrets the fact that not all the grounds identified in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights are mentioned in Article 6 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (the AVMS Directive); invites the Commission to consider extending the scope of that article, thus bringing it in line with the Charter;

5.  Welcomes the approach taken by the Commission and the European Court of Justice in relation to the interpretation of Article 14 of the AVMS Directive; calls for a continued broad interpretation of the term ‘events which are regarded as being of major importance for society’, including sports and entertainment events that are of general interest, and encourages Member States to draw up lists of such events;

6.  Highlights the fact that, in an increasingly digital environment, public media services play a crucial role in ensuring that citizens are able to access information online, and acknowledges in this regard that the provision of internet services by public media services contributes directly to their mission;

7.  Stresses that as well as examining the scope and possible amendment of the Audiovisual Services Directive, there should be greater emphasis placed on compliance and implementation of the current Directive;

8.  Emphasises that the exercise of the freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities;

9.  Calls on the Commission, in its next report, to focus especially on the problem of the digital divide, that is to say, the inequality and asymmetry as regards information resulting from inadequate access to new information and communication technologies;

10. Reaffirms the importance of protecting minors in television broadcasting; recommends that Member States take this into consideration, in accordance with Article 9(1)(g) of the AVMS Directive; furthermore, recommends that providers of television programmes or services designate an appointee for the protection of minors, to serve as a contact for users as well as an advisor for providers on issues regarding the protection of minors;

11. Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States to implement the rules of accessibility and to follow the situation closely in order to provide an overview of measures taken by the Member States;

12. Calls on the Commission to maintain, in the EU’s external trade agreements, the definitions of audiovisual media services of the Directive, thus ‘carving out’ those services.

13. Calls on the Commission to present an annual report on freedom of the media in individual Member States.

14. Calls on the European Commission to investigate better methods of regulating alcohol advertising, as self-regulatory codes are not sufficient to protect minors effectively;

15. Highlights the need for a pan-European comparative study in order to further understand how children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ media consumption behaviour is evolving; such a study would be beneficial to audiovisual policymakers at EU level and in the Member States;

16. Recommends the strengthening of the role of the European Audiovisual Observatory, as this would be an appropriate solution for collecting data concerning the promotion of European audiovisual works;

17. Asks the Commission to take into consideration the following aspects when launching public consultations on connected or hybrid television: standardisation, technological neutrality, the challenge of personalised services (especially for persons with disabilities), problems related to multi-cloud security, accessibility to users, protecting children and human dignity;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

31.1.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

1

2

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Arkadiusz Tomasz Bratkowski, Philip Claeys, Frank Engel, Kinga Gál, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Lívia Járóka, Timothy Kirkhope, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Nuno Melo, Louis Michel, Claude Moraes, Georgios Papanikolaou, Jacek Protasiewicz, Carmen Romero López, Csaba Sógor, Rui Tavares, Nils Torvalds, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Wim van de Camp, Josef Weidenholzer, Tatjana Ždanoka, Auke Zijlstra

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Birgit Collin-Langen, Cornelis de Jong, Mariya Gabriel, Monika Hohlmeier, Franziska Keller, Petru Constantin Luhan, Ulrike Lunacek, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Sir Graham Watson


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

21.2.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Zoltán Bagó, Lothar Bisky, Piotr Borys, Jean-Marie Cavada, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Mary Honeyball, Morten Løkkegaard, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Marek Henryk Migalski, Doris Pack, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Monika Panayotova, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, Marietje Schaake, Hannu Takkula, László Tőkés, Helga Trüpel, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Iosif Matula, Mitro Repo

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Luigi Berlinguer, Knut Fleckenstein

Last updated: 11 April 2013Legal notice