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IRIS 2003-1:5/7

European Commission

Report on Implementation of Articles 4 & 5 of the TWF Directive

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Nynke Hendriks

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 8 November 2002, the European Commission adopted the fifth report on the implementation in 1999 and 2000 of Articles 4 and 5 of the "Television without Frontiers" Directive. Articles 4 and 5 of this Directive lay down that broadcasters must devote minimum percentages of transmission time and programming budgets to European works. A survey on compliance with these articles is conducted every two years (for earlier reports, see, in reverse chronological order: IRIS 2000-9:5, IRIS 1998-5:4 and IRIS 1996-9:8). In the instant report, the Commission notes a general increase in the average transmission time and actual broadcasting of European works.

Article 4 of the Directive provides that Member States must, where practicable and by suitable means, devote the majority of their transmission time to European works. Most Member States easily exceeded this target, having achieved an average of 60.7% in 1999 and 62.2% in 2000.

Article 5 of the Directive requires that Member States reserve, were practicable and by suitable means, a minimum of 10% of their broadcasting time or programming budget for European works by independent producers and, in particular, recent works. This target was also met by most Member States (85%). The average broadcasting time amounted to 37.5% in 1999 and to 40.5% in 2000.

The overall compliance with the quotas laid down in Articles 4 and 5 of the Directive may also be regarded as positive in the light of a considerable expansion of the number of broadcasters in Europe, increasing from 550 at the beginning of 1999 to 820 at the beginning of 2001. The Commission has furthermore identified the main reasons given to explain cases of non-compliance, which include: the broadcaster's programmes are aimed at a very specific niche market; some individual members of a broadcasting group might not have met the minimum percentage although the group as a whole has met these percentages; the parent company of a subsidiary is located outside the European Union, and finally, the broadcaster is new.

According to the Commission, the reporting period (1999 and 2000) generally shows a satisfactory application by the Member States of Articles 4 and 5 of the Directive. This was the first report to be carried out since the entry into force on 1 January 1999 of guidelines elaborated for the purpose of assisting Member States in their monitoring obligations vis-à-vis the implementation of Articles 4 and 5 (see IRIS 2000-9:5). Some problems may be presented by minority channels and the Commission notes that increased control and monitoring of these channels may be necessary.

"Television broadcasters are devoting an average of 62% of their transmission time to European works, and steadily improving the "quotas" provided for in the "Television without Frontiers" Directive", Press Release of the European Commission of 8 November 2002, IP/02/1632 EN
Fifth Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the application of Articles 4 and 5 of Directive 89/552/EEC "Television without Frontiers", as amended by Directive 97/36/EC, for the period 1999-2000, COM (2002) 612 final of 8 November 2002 EN