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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission seeks information from eight Member States on implementation of Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Brussels, 1 September 2011 - The European Commission has written to eight EU Member States (Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg) seeking information about their implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. The Commission has asked the Member States to reply within 10 weeks. The fact-finding letters are part of the Commission's efforts to ensure that the national media laws of all Member States correctly implement all aspects of the AVMS rules. The issues raised vary from one Member State to the other. The requests for information do not imply that the Directive has been incorrectly implemented by the Member States concerned but simply that, at this stage, the Commission has some outstanding questions concerning their implementation of the Directive.

The Commission sent a first round of letters to 16 Member States in March 2011 (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia and the United Kingdom IP/11/373). Slovenia has not notified to the Commission any measures to implement the AVMS Directive into its national law and Poland has only partially notified some measures. These two Member States are currently subject to infringement procedures. The Commission is still analysing the measures notified by Portugal.

Which issues do the questions submitted to the Member States touch upon?

The following wide range of issues related to the implementation of the Directive have been raised in the requests for clarification (see MEMO/11/574 for further details of these issues):

  • the country of origin principle and jurisdiction issues concerning audiovisual services

  • audiovisual commercial communications (including product placement and sponsorship television advertising and teleshopping)

  • basic obligations under the Directive (such as identification requirements, rules on incitement to hatred, on accessibility, balanced coverage obligations, registration of on-demand services)

  • the protection of minors

  • promoting European works

  • events of major importance to be broadcast on free to air television and short news extracts

  • cooperation between regulators.


The AVMS Directive (2010/13/EU) ensures a Single Market and legal certainty for Europe's TV and audiovisual industry by creating a level playing field for both broadcast and on-demand audiovisual media services across frontiers while preserving cultural diversity, protecting children and consumers, safeguarding media pluralism and combating racial and religious hatred. The Directive is based on the "country of origin" principle, whereby audiovisual media service providers are subject to the regulations in their country of origin only and cannot be subject to regulation in the destination country except in very limited circumstances laid down by Article 3 of the AVMS Directive (e.g. incitement to hatred). EU Member States agreed to implement the AVMS Directive into their national law by 19 December 2009 (see IP/09/1983).

The original "Television without Frontiers" Directive was adopted in 1989 (IP/91/898) and amended for the first time in 1997 (IP/97/552). In December 2007, an amending Directive was adopted (see IP/07/1809, MEMO/08/803). On 10 March 2010, the provisions of the original "Television without frontiers" Directive were merged with the provisions contained in the amending directives to form the codified version of the now called "Audiovisual Media Services" Directive.

Details of the AVMS Directive can be found at:

Neelie Kroes' website:

Digital Agenda website:

Follow VP Kroes on Twitter:

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

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