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IP/08/2032

Brussels, 18 December 2008

Commission calls on Member States to rule with a light hand while updating TV rules in 2009

One year after the entry into force of a new EU Directive meant to liberalise TV rules and remove outdated and bureaucratic restrictions on the provision of digital TV over the internet, video on demand and mobile TV in Europe, EU Member States have made little progress in adapting national rules. Only Romania has comprehensively implemented the new EU audiovisual media rules that entered into force on 19 December 2007 (IP/07/1809). The EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers on a proposal from the Commission (IP/05/1573) rebooted the old EU rules on traditional TV broadcasting for the digital age and its new generation of TV-like services. The other 26 Member States are currently putting the modernised rules for Europe's audiovisual industry into national law. They have until December 2009. By then the EU should have a single market for all audiovisual media services, providing legal certainty for businesses and more diverse and quality programming for viewers.

"The new EU rules are an opportunity to create a single market for the digital age, and I urge Member States to put them in place quickly and in a flexible manner so that TV producers, broadcasters and viewers benefit from them as soon as possible," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "We updated the EU's rules on TV because of rapidly changing technology and the need to strengthen the competitiveness of Europe's audiovisual industry. For Member States, this represents a chance to abolish outdated restrictions, to strengthen co- and self-regulation, especially in advertising, to strengthen the right to information, and to promote quality and diversity. However, I am concerned that some Member States appear to see the new rules as an excuse for adding red tape. We have created better regulation at EU level and I expect Member States to do the same at national level. "

Half-way through the two year window given to Member States to put new EU rules on TV and TV-like services like video on demand and mobile video, only Romania has already fully implemented the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in national law (Status of all 27 Member States: see annex).

On 25 November, Romania adopted a new Government decree amending its Audiovisual law of 2002 to carry out the changes of the new EU Directive. Romania has made use of all the liberalisation options offered by the Directive, including product placement. The Commission will check if these amendments fully carry out the 2007 EU Directive as soon as it is officially notified of them.

The other 26 EU Member States, as well as the European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) and the candidate countries (Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey), are still putting the new rules in place. However, progress is slow in many Member States: some governments have not yet held public consultations on how the EU rules will work in their country (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain). In some Member States, drafts of the new rules are ready for parliamentary procedures early next year (Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands and Portugal).

Luxembourg has stated it has already implemented some of the new rules, notably those concerning advertising. Austria will follow in January. In France, a draft bill was submitted to the National Assembly last month. The revised law could be adopted by both chambers of the French parliament early next year. The French draft law gives the independent regulator (Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel) the power to regulate product placement.

The new EU rules make it easier for producers and providers of TV programmes to access financing from new forms of audiovisual advertising such as split screen advertising or product placement, which is allowed in all programmes except news, documentaries and children programmes. Broadcasters can more easily interrupt programmes thanks to the removal of the rule imposing a twenty minute period between advertising breaks. The new EU rules aim to strengthen Europe's TV and audiovisual industry by reducing regulation and creating a level-playing field for audiovisual media services "without frontiers".

Background

On 13 December 2005, the Commission proposed revising the "Television without Frontiers" Directive to address significant technological and market developments in audiovisual services (IP/05/1573, MEMO/06/208). The Commission adopted an updated proposal for a modernised draft Audiovisual Media Services Directive on 9 March 2007 (IP/07/311) to pave the way for this early agreement of its second reading by Parliament and Council (MEMO/07/206). The European Parliament approved the Council's common position and the Directive entered into force on 18 December 2007.

The Directive is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/reg/avms/index_en.htm

MEMO/08/803

Annex:

State of play on the implementation of the new Directive in EU Member States

Country
Implementation has started
Legislative draft presented to Parliament
Parliament
has adopted implementing legislation
Implementing legislation
in force
Belgium
(French Community)
Draft decree to be approved by French Community government by the end of the year. Opinion of the State Council (Conseil d'Etat) received on 26 November.
No
-
-
Belgium (Flemish Community)
Draft decree approved by the Flemish Community government. Flemish government approved the new draft media decree 2009 on 5 December.2008. Opinion of the State Council (Raad van State) received on 10 September.
Yes, 8 December 2008
No
-
Belgium (German Community)
Draft decree in preparation. Must be submitted to the State Council in March 2009.
No
-
-
Bulgaria
Consultations ongoing. First administrative draft expected beginning 2009.
No
-
-
Czech Republic
Draft legislation prepared by Ministry of Culture and submitted for consultations. Draft legislation should then be submitted to Government. Expected to be presented to Parliament in March/April 2009.
No
-
-
Denmark
Draft law being elaborated. Working group set-up. Public consultation to be prepared and draft bill expected to be sent to Parliament in October 2009.
No
-
-
Germany
Draft legislation being prepared by Bund + Länder Governments, public consultation expected for first half 2009. First administrative draft expected in February 2009.
No
-
-
Ireland
Some questions already addressed in the broadcasting bill, 2nd part to be transposed by Governmental regulation to be finalised by summer 2009.
Yes, 1st part (e.g. co-/self-regulation, unhealthy food advertising)
No
-
Estonia
Pre-legislative public consultation finished, draft legislation being prepared and expected to be submitted to Parliament by end of 2009.
No
-
-
Greece
Public consultation ended on 15 December 2008. A working group is preparing a draft law.
No
-
-
Spain
Draft legislation has been prepared but not yet published. Expected to be presented to the Government on 31 March 2009.
No
-
-
France
Public consultation in March 2008. Draft law published and approved by the National Assembly. Adoption by Senate expected in early 2009. Rules on TV advertising will be adopted by Governmental Decree following a public consultation.
Yes, in November.
No
-
Italy
Draft law authorising government to adopt a decree law under discussion in the Parliament. Public consultation in 2009 envisaged.
No
-
-
Cyprus
Public consultation will start in early 2009. First administrative draft bill should be published for public consultation in January 2009 and then sent to Parliament in June 2009.
No
-
-
Latvia
In November 2007 Parliament mandated broadcasting Council to prepare draft bill for Parliament by end 2008.
No
-
-
Lithuania
Working group set up. A conference took place on 4 December. Plan to submit the draft bill to Parliament in spring 2009.
No
-
-
Luxembourg
Amending TV advertising rules adopted. Draft legislation is in preparation concerning other rules.
No
-
-
Hungary
Draft legislation has been published. Two public consultations: the first in 2007 on general concepts; the second on the draft text in November-December 2008. Draft bill expected to be presented to Parliament first half 2009.
No
-
-
Malta
Public consultations conducted; draft amendments to existing law expected to be presented to the ministry by the end of January 2009.
No
-
-
Netherlands
Draft law approved by Government and submitted for opinion to the State Council. Will then be submitted to the Parliament for approval.
No
-
-
Austria
Legislation concerning TV advertising rules presented to Parliament and should be in force by February 2009. Draft legislation concerning the other rules expected to be published in March 2009.
Yes, draft legislation on television advertising presented to Parliament on 27/11/2008, but not for other rules.
-
-
Poland
Public consultation carried out between July and September 2008, expert group is about to finalise the guiding rules for the draft law. Draft bill planned to be submitted to Parliament in July 2009.
No
-
-
Portugal
Draft law being elaborated. Consultation on draft law planned in January 2009. Final draft law expected in spring 2009.
No
-
-
Romania
Completed
Government Decree adopted on 25th November for modification and completion of Audiovisual law No 504/2002.
Not required.
Yes
Slovenia
Working group created but no public consultation launched yet.
No
-
-
Slovakia
Working group established in September 2008, draft to be finalised end of March, public consultation to take place April-May 2009.
No
-
-
Finland
Following limited public consultation, a working group prepared and published a draft legislation, which is expected to be put to public consultation and then presented to Parliament in March 2009.
No
-
-
Sweden
A commission of enquiry has been charged with the preparation of a legislative proposal. This proposal was presented to the Minister of Culture on Dec 15 and was published for public consultation immediately afterwards. Government proposal is expected in late Spring 2009.
No
-
-
United Kingdom
Several consultations have taken place the results of which are being currently analysed. Draft law expected in spring.
No
No
-


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