European Commission proposes updated audiovisual rules

The European Commission is proposing changes to the rules that have governed the free circulation of content in Europe for almost 30 years.

Planned amendments (which still need to be approved by the European Parliament) to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) will reflect changes to broadcasting in the age of video on demand and video sharing and aim to tackle hate speech.

Although companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have agreed to review and remove hate content, The EU and the UK say they have failed to deliver on their promises. 

The proposals include:

An obligation for online platforms to behave responsibly - The Commission is working with major online platforms on a code of conduct on combatting hate speech online and will present the results in the coming weeks.

Responsible video-sharing platforms - Platforms which organise and tag a large quantity of videos will have to protect minors from harmful content and protect all citizens from incitement to hatred.  This includes tools to report and flag harmful content, age verification or parental control systems. Platforms will be invited to work collaboratively to develop a code of conduct.

Stronger role for audiovisual regulators - Regulatory authorities to be made truly independent from governments and industry, and the role of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) will be set out in EU legislation.

Encouraging creativity - The Commission wants TV broadcasters to continue to dedicate at least half of viewing time to European works and will oblige on-demand providers to ensure at least 20% share of European content in their catalogues.

Flexibility for TV broadcasters - The revised Directive gives broadcasters more flexibility as to when adverts can be shown.

Comparable rules for comparable digital services - Comparable digital services should follow the same or similar rules.  The Commission aims to reduce the scope and extent of existing regulation.

A fair and innovation-friendly business environment: The Commission will carry out a fact-finding exercise into issues raised in the public consultation.

Source: Endgadget; Europa