Brussels, 24 June 2010
Audiovisual Media Services Directive: Commission requests 12 Member States to implement in full
The European Commission has requested 12 Member States (Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia) to urgently update their national broadcasting rules in order to comply with their obligations under the Audiovisual Media Service (AVMS) Directive. The AVMS Directive updates EU rules on broadcasting to face the challenges of the digital age and creates rules on the use of services like TV over the internet, video on demand and mobile TV to ensure better legal protection for European TV viewers. Member States should have implemented the Directive by amending their national laws by the end of 2009. To date, the 12 Member States have either not implemented all the rules or have not yet officially informed the Commission that the rules are in place, as required. Therefore the Commission has decided to send reasoned opinions to these Member States. If they fail to inform the Commission of measures to implement the Directive in full within two months, the Commission may refer them to the EU's Court of Justice.
The AVMS Directive strengthens Europe's TV and audiovisual industry by reducing regulation and creating a level-playing field for audiovisual media services across borders while maintaining high consumer protection standards. It ensures that rules on the protection of minors and against incitement to hatred, based on race, sex, religion or nationality, apply to all audiovisual services (broadcast on fixed, mobile or satellite networks, including on-demand). It also allows Member States to authorise innovative advertising tools such as split-screen advertising or product placement, giving producers and providers of TV programmes access to new forms of financing. Broadcasters also have more flexibility in programming with the removal of rules imposing a twenty minute period between advertising breaks.
EU Member States had to implement the AVMS Directive into their national law by 19 December 2009, but only three countries (Belgium, Romania and Slovakia) had notified the Commission of full implementation by that date (see IP/09/1983). In January 2010, the European Commission sent requests for information in the form of letters of formal notice, the first stage of an infringement procedure, to 23 Member States. In the meantime, 11 of them informed the Commission that they had modified their national rules to comply with the Directive (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). .
The AVMS Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers at the end of in 2007 (see IP/07/1809,). It adapted the Television without Frontiers" Directive (TVWF), first introduced in 1989 (IP/91/898) and updated in 1997 (IP/97/552), to the changed environment of broadcasting services. On 10 March 2010, the provisions of the original AVMS Directive were merged with those of the amending Directive to form an integrated version of the text.
There is HREF="http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1801&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor IP/08/1801 an infringement proceeding against Spain (IP/08/700) failing to comply with the television advertising rules in the Television without frontiers Directive.
The Audiovisual Media Services Directive is available at: