European Parliament: Mandate to the Culture committee on a new directive on audiovisual media services

IRIS 2017-7:1/6

Emmanuel Vargas Penagos

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 18 May 2017, the European Parliament gave a mandate to the Committee on Culture and Education to begin talks with the European Council on a new directive on audiovisual media services in view of changing market realities. The mandate has a special focus on the protection of children, new rules on advertising, and a 30% quota of European works on video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. The mandate, consistent with the amendments that the Culture Committee voted on 25 April 2017, was approved by 314 votes to 266, with 41 abstentions.

When referring to the protection of children, the mandate given by the Parliament seeks to: first, impose the obligation on video-sharing platforms to take corrective measures when users flag content as inciting violence, hatred, or terrorism. Second, prohibiting advertising and product placement for tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and alcohol in children’s TV programs and video-sharing platforms. Regarding advertisements, the Parliament defined a maximum 20% daily quota with flexibility in the adjustment of advertisement periods. Self and co-regulation is also established as a first measure before the direct imposition of rules by the member state authorities.

In order to promote European cultural diversity, the Parliament agreed to the obligation for VOD platforms to offer at least 30% of European productions. This includes works in the language of the countries of distribution. Moreover, member states will be allowed to require VOD platforms to provide direct or indirect financial contributions to the development of European audiovisual productions. Those contributions should be proportional to the revenues received in the countries where they are being given.

On 23 May 2017, the Council reached a general approach for negotiation with the Parliament. This general approach is in line with some of the above mentioned issues of the mandate given by the Parliament: the quota of European production, the imposition of stringent requirements on alcohol and cigarette advertisements, and the protection of children from harmful audiovisual content, such as hate speech, violence, and terrorism.

The mandate and general approach come as part of the legislative procedure of a Directive proposal presented by the Commission in May 2016 as a part of the Digital Single Market Strategy (see IRIS 2016-6/3). Both the mandate and the general approach pave the way for negotiations between the Parliament and the Council, which will culminate in the final adoption of a new Directive.


Related articles

IRIS 2016-6:1/3 European Commission: Proposal to amend the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.