Minister informs Parliament of proposed amendments to Media Act

IRIS 2020-2:1/17

Saba K. Sluiter

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 19 December 2019, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science wrote a letter to parliament regarding a proposed law that would change the applicable rules for regional public broadcasters. In the letter, the minister declared that he would not submit the legislative proposal to the Dutch Parliament.

In 2016, the Dutch Media Act was changed in order to create a body representing regional public broadcasters, referred to as Regionale Publieke Omroep (RPO) (see IRIS 2016-5/25). The RPO is the umbrella organisation for the 13 regional public broadcasters and is intended to function as a coordinator and a representative for the local broadcasters. After the creation of the RPO, subsequent draft legislation, which was written to further specify the task and the organisational structure of this new body and to achieve a budget cut of EUR 17 million, was sent to parliament on 22 April 2016.

However, after the initial proposal, the minister informed parliament that the proposed change could not count on support from the regional broadcasters. The legislative process has been put on hold ever since. In his letter of 19 December 2019, the minister pointed out that this situation had not changed since 2016. In addition, he considered the proposal no longer fitting in the current media landscape. His policy focusses on collaboration between regional and national public broadcasters, with the aim of increasing quality, reducing costs and expanding the broadcasters' audiences. According to the letter, there has already been more coherence between the national public broadcasters and the regional public broadcasters. The minister will not submit the proposal for a vote in Parliament.

Finally, the minister also presented a new proposal for legislation to amend the Dutch Media Act in order to implement the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) (see IRIS 2019-1/3). The proposal addresses technological developments and changes among providers and consumers. As a result, the regulation of linear television and on-demand media services is being adapted and the Dutch Media Act will cover a new subject: video-sharing platform services. The proposal includes rules relating to the protection of minors, the regulation of access to services for people with disabilities, more flexible regulation of broadcasting time for advertising, the promotion of European works, the independence of the media regulator, the promotion of media literacy, and the self- and co-regulation of various issues in video-sharing platform services. The letter was sent to the Dutch Parliament on 17 December 2019.


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IRIS 2016-5:1/25 [NL] Amendments to Media Act concerning regional broadcasting

IRIS 2019-1:1/3 Council of the EU: Publication of the Revised AVMSD in the Official Journal

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