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Thursday, 19 February 2009 - Brussels Final edition
Community participation in the European Audiovisual Observatory

European Parliament resolution of 19 February 2009 on Community participation in the European Audiovisual Observatory (2008/2179(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Resolution (92) 70 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 15 December 1992 establishing a European Audiovisual Observatory and to Resolution (97) 4 of 20 March 1997 confirming the continuation of the European Audiovisual Observatory and to the Statute of the Observatory annexed to it,

–   having regard to Resolution Res (2000) 7 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 21 September 2000 concerning amendments to the Statute of the European Audiovisual Observatory,

–   having regard to Council Decision 1999/784/EC of 22 November 1999 concerning Community participation in the European Audiovisual Observatory(1) ,

–   having regard to Decision No 1718/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 concerning the implementation of a programme of support for the European audiovisual sector (MEDIA 2007)(2) ,

–   having regard to the Commission report of 10 January 2007 on the implementation of Council Decision 1999/784/EC of 22 November 1999 as amended by Decision 2239/2004/EC of the EP and the Council concerning Community participation in the European Audiovisual Observatory (COM(2006)0835),

–   having regard to Council Directive 89/552/EEC of 3 October 1989 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)(3) ,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0010/2009),

A.   whereas the audiovisual sector makes an important contribution to the European creative and knowledge economy and plays a central role in promoting cultural diversity and pluralism in the European Union,

B.   whereas the convergence of information society services and media services, networks and devices sets new challenges in terms of adapting the existing legal framework with its rights and obligations in many areas, and offers a host of new opportunities,

C.   whereas the transparency and the availability of reliable and comparable information concerning the European audiovisual market can make operators in the sector, especially SMEs, more competitive, by improving the understanding of the industry's potential, and canbe to the benefit of users,

D.   whereas the European Audiovisual Observatory (the "Observatory") thus contributes to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual industry by collecting and disseminating detailed information about the audiovisual sector,

E.   whereas the Observatory provides a wide variety of products including online services, publications and databases, which have proved to be of great value for both industry and policy makers, at national and Community level,

F.   whereas Community action to support the competitiveness of the audiovisual industry will contribute to achieving the objectives set by the Lisbon strategy,

1.  Recognises that the Observatory is the only pan-European public service organisation dedicated to gathering and distributing information on the European audiovisual industry and plays a vital role by providing detailed information on the sector to both public and private bodies in the field;

2.  Stresses that the convergence of information society services and media services, networks and devices has raised new challenges for research in the audiovisual sector, which should be reflected in the Observatory's activities;

3.  Reiterates that multimedia and new technologies will play an ever greater role in the audiovisual sector and that the Observatory must, in due course, strengthen its capacity to follow these new developments in order to continue to play an important role in the sector;

4.  Emphasises that the Observatory must be provided with the resources necessary to continue realising its objectives, thereby effectively keeping step with new developments in multimedia and new technologies;

5.  Calls on the Observatory in this respect to extend its activities to cover more specifically the latest challenges that are created by media convergence and new developments, giving particular attention to the analysis of the impact of digitalisation on the film and audiovisual industry in general and the analysis of online audiovisual services, mobile TV and video games;

6.  Stresses the importance of contact and co-ordination with national regulators and stakeholders in the audiovisual media sector in order to guarantee added value;

7.  Welcomes the Observatory's publication on copyright and other related rights and suggests that the Observatory cover these issues systematically and, also as far as possible in the light of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity(4) , extend its coverage to include the issue of tax and labour law in the audiovisual sector in Europe;

8.  Calls on the Observatory, as an expert body, to make suggestions and provide policy options which could serve as a basis for European policy, having regard to best practices in the audiovisual media field in other parts of the world with equivalent developments (such as Asia or North America);

9.  Welcomes the Observatory's investigation into the significance of audiovisual works from third countries on the European market and recommends an analysis on developing models of cooperation with partners from third countries on the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity and the abovementioned Audiovisual Media Services Directive with respect to the "European works" under Article 1(n) of that Directive and including the Media International pilot project;

10.  Recognises the cultural differences between Member States which may result in different ways of dealing with harmful or offensive audiovisual material, especially vis-à-vis minors, while taking into account the minimum harmonisation in the field of protection of minors laid down in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the actions taken under the Safer Internet Plus programme which aims to promote safer use of the internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to combat illegal content and content not wanted by the end-user;

11.  Calls on the Observatory, in this respect, to monitor the different (legal) instruments and to develop policy options;

12.  Encourages the wider dissemination of the Observatory's publications through an intensified communications policy in order to promote awareness of its activities;

13.  Welcomes the planned overhaul of the Observatory website which ought to reflect the latest and highest standards in multimedia and technology, and supports the planned efforts to improve its design and interactivity which will make it more informative and more user friendly;

14.  Recognises that whilst some specific areas, such as media literacy, are not currently within the field of activity of the Observatory, exploration of such issues should be envisaged;

15.  Encourages the Observatory to provide, in cooperation with its members, more data on the availability of specific audiovisual services such as subtitling, audio description and sign language, designed to assist people with disabilities;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States as well as the Council of Europe and the European Audiovisual Observatory.

(1) OJ L 307, 2.12.1999, p. 61.
(2) OJ L 327, 24.11.2006, p. 12.
(3) OJ L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23.
(4) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

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