European Commission launches consultation on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)
News    ·   28-08-2015

AUTHOR: Sharon Xuereb, Daphne Ann Grech

On 6 July 2015, the European Commission (the “Commission”) declared that a public consultation (the “Consultation”) be launched on Directive 2010/13/EU (AVMSD) (the “Directive”), in consequence of the fast-shifting media landscape. The Commission, through this Consultation, entitled “A media framework for the 21st century”, seeks to gain feedback on the existing framework that already regulates Europe’s audiovisual media scene.

The Consultation invites all stakeholders (including market players, public organisations, consumer organisations), as well as, viewers of audiovisual media services, as users of such services, to give their feedback and share their actual experience. This is the first time that a wide range of options have been afforded to respondents when giving their feedback. Those answering the Consultation questions, have the added opportunity of suggesting ways in improving legislation, among other options.

Respondents are invited to answer questions in relation to six main topics which have been identified by the Commission in the review of the Directive. These include: ensuring a level playing field for audiovisual media services; providing for an optimal level of consumer protection; user protection and prohibition of hate speech and discrimination; promoting European audiovisual content; strengthening the single market; and strengthening media freedom and pluralism, access to information and accessibility to content for people with disabilities.

Currently, the AVMSD does not apply to content hosted by online video-sharing platforms and intermediaries (including search engines, social media platforms, app stores, e-commerce platforms and price comparison websites) because they are mainly regulated by the e-Commerce Directive, which exempts them from liability in relation to the content stored, hosted and transmitted by them, under certain conditions. The Commission is aware of the increasingly important role that such online platforms and intermediaries play in society and through the Consultation seems to confirm that, a level playing field among linear, non-linear and OTT service providers, in particular with EU audiovisual content and protection of minors, is indispensable.

All interested parties have until 30 September 2015 to submit their views.

A link to the Consultation is available here at:

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