AVMS Pan-European Developments

This post provides various updates on AVMS implementation across Europe over the past months.

Dutch Guidelines Published and Registration Fees set to ZERO.

On 11 October the Dutch Guidelines on AVMS were published, and these entered into force at 1 November 2011. Services were required to register in the first two weeks of November. The official document is here.

The Dutch law firm SOLV held a private AVMS Seminar on 1st November. Representatives of Rabobank, Sanoma, SBS, UPC and Chello Media made presentations of their views regarding the Guidelines and the services that fall under the scope of the Guidelines. Unfortunately these presentations have not been made publicly available. A summary of the event (in Dutch) can be found here, and a rough translation in English, here.

During this Seminar the Media regulator presented a summary of the Guidelines, and stated that the registration fee would be set at 0 (zero) Euro per annum. There will be another consultation regarding the sponsorship/advertising obligations that will be imposed on the parties that have registered.

Latvia´s response to the EC on AVMS implementation arrives one day late

Latvia submitted its reply to the European Commission regarding implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, on time, according to the Latvian business magazine, Baltic Course. Latvia submitted its reply to the European Commission on 10 November, the deadline for responses, but it was not registered right away due to a technical glitch, according to the Justice ministry´s public relations officer. The European Commission said, on 11 November, that Latvia had missed the deadline. The full text of the report can be found here.

Council of the European Union publishes Guidelines on the Protection of Children in a Digital World

At a meeting which took place on 28 and 29 November in Brussels, the Council of the European Union published its conclusions on the protection of children in the digital world. The document sets out the political agenda and invites governments, stakeholders, and the commission to work together to address the difficult challenges ahead. The document underlines that “strengthening security in the digital society is a shared responsibility – of individuals as much as of private and public bodies, both at home and globally”.

The document also addresses the differing approaches Member States have towards protecting minors and promoting the development of good practices and standards in the media where self-regulation and coregulation are two solutions among several possible, and, the use of technical systems (such as filtering, age verification systems, parental control tools), whilst not solutions on their own, can, as long as they are applied in an efficient way, be suitable means to provide the access of minors to content that is appropriate for their age. The document also makes reference to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which contains provisions on the protection of minors for both linear and non-linear audiovisual media services. The full text can be found here.

Hungary´s Media Law having a ´Chilling´ Effect on Press Freedom

According to a report published on the UK website, www.journalism.co.uk, Hungary´s new media law is having a ´chilling´ effect on press freedom. The website was referring to the warnings issued by an international mission of press freedom groups who met with government representatives and others  between 14 and 16 November. One controversial aspect of the new law forces journalists to reveal their sources in order to protect national security. Hungary was forced to make amendments to the initial draft of the legislation after it was rejected by the European Parliament for not meeting the the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 11 on freedom of expression). The full text of the report can be found here.

Third Amendment to Portugal´s Media Law Published

On 28 November 2011, the third amendment to Lei da Televisão (the Television Law), has been published by Portugal´s media regulator, Anacom. The new law  restructures the public radio and television service concession, and was the instrument used to transpose the AVMS Directive. A non-official version of the law in English has been published on the Anacom website, and can be accessed here.