On November 29, 2007, the European Parliament formally approved without amendments the Council's common position on the new Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive. In its press release, the European Commission recalled the following declaration from EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding: “Today the dawn of Europe's convergent audiovisual services industry is breaking. With these modernized rules that improve legal certainty and reaffirm the country of establishment principle, Europe's audiovisual policies will better meet the demands of a fast-moving and dynamic industry while maintaining high consumer protection standards. There will be less regulation, better financing for content, and greater visibility for cultural diversity and the protection of minors.”
According to the press release, the new Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive “will allow the audiovisual sector to confront the profound changes it faces to accommodate technological and market developments, and changing viewing habits resulting from convergence.” The European Commission notes that the new directive follows May's political agreement by the European Parliament and Council on the directive’s main aims and provisions (see IP/07/706), which outlined a new mandate covering all audiovisual media services, more flexible advertising rules, a legal framework for product placement, new rights for citizens, and the continued protection of key European values. “The directive is coherent with other recent Commission initiatives such as the proposed European strategy on mobile television, the plan to maximize the benefits of the digital dividend and the new MEDIA 2007 support program, the press release continued. The Commission states that the forthcoming process of discussion and proposals on Creative Content Online “will also supplement the progress made with the new directive.”
The press release stipulates that Member States will be given 24 months to convert the new rules into national law so that they fully apply in 2009. Lastly, “Commissioner Reding recently asked Member States to proceed with a “light touch” transposition of the directive, i.e. not to add too many strict national provisions, which would prevent their audiovisual industries fully benefiting from the freedom brought by the Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive.”
To learn more, you can read the press release in its entirety here.