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ARTICLE
Public consultation on the revision of the “television without frontiers” Directive (TVWF)
Par Yannick-Eléonore Scaramozzino
The future legislative framework for audiovisual content services



The Commission Communication “i 2010 – A European information society for growth and jobs
”, adopted on 1 June 2005, recognises the necessity of an “integrated approach to information society and audiovisual media policies in the EU” as “communication networks, media, content, services and devices are undergoing digital convergence”. It stresses that increased legal and economic certainty will encourage new services and more content and announces that the Commission will propose by end 2005 a “revision of the Television without frontiers directive to modernise the rules on audiovisual media services.”



In September 2005, the European Commission co-organised with the UK Presidency a major audiovisual conference at Liverpool. In order to prepare this conference, the Commission launches a public consultation during summer on the inputs concerning the future legislative framework for audiovisual content services.



The Directorate General Information Society and Media of the European Commission invites you to make observations by 5 September 2005, to the following issues : rules applicable to audiovisual content services, rights to information and short extracts, cultural diversity and promotion of European and independent audiovisual production, commercial communications, and protection of minors and human dignity, right of reply.



Concerning the rules applicable to audiovisual content services, the Commission services identified two major policy options :

•a revision of the TVWF Directive including more flexibility in relation to advertising and an update of the definitions, to make sure that all services similar to television are covered by the revised directive.
;

•The establishment of a comprehensive framework for any form of electronic delivery of audiovisual content.
;



On the issue on the protection of Minors, Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that television broadcasts by broadcasters under their jurisdiction do not include programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, in particular those that involve pornography or gratuitous violence (article 22 of TVWF). The Commission Communication “i2010- A European information society for growth and jobs” adopted on 1 June 2005 stresses that one of the main challenges in order to achieve a Single European Information Society is to make all plateforms delivering contents “safer from fraudsters, harmful content and technology failures.” Concerning the linear audiovisual services, the current wording of Article 22 of the TVWF Directive would probably suffice and would be transposed in adequate rules for non-linear services.



On the right to information, two options could be considered:



•To specify in the future directive that trans-frontier access to short reports for use in information programmes should be non-discriminatory. Member States which already have conventional rules or agreements on the retransmission of audiovisual extracts would have to introduce a provision resquesting other Member States to ensure that broadcasters within their jurisdiction give other Member States’ broadcasters non-discriminatory access to programme extracts for use in information programmes.
;



•To establish in the future directive a right of trans-frontier access to programme extracts for use in information programmes and to specify the applicable conditions: the events covered, the beneficiaries of this right, the duration and the destination of the extracts.
;



On the issue of Cultural diversity and the promotion of European and independent audiovisual production, article 4 of the TVWF requires Member States, “where praticable and by appropriate means”, to ensure that broadcasters reserve a majority proportion of their transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, for European works. Article 5 stipulates that a minimum proportion (at least 10) of broadcasters’ transmission time, excluding the time appointed to news, sports events, games, advertising, teletext services and teleshopping, be reserved for European works created by independent producers. Alternatively, Member States may require broadcasters to allocate at least 10% of their programme budget to independent productions. An adequate proportion of works by independent producers should be recent, i.e, less than five years old.



From different consultations on this issue, it can be concluded that there is at present no need to modify in substance. Article 4 and article 5. Data show that transmissions of European works have grown consistently. It was also found in the “impact Study” that, besides their impact on the scheduling of European works, Articles 4 and 5 have achieved cultural objectives. There are also indications that in general Articles 4 and 5 contributed to a strengthening of the European audiovisual industry. In principle, the proportions provided for under in Articles 4 and 5 appear still to be valid in substance, since they have proved to be an effective and stable framework for promoting European and independent production.



Definition :



“Audiovisual content service”

means services as defined by Article 49 and 50 of the Treaty for the delivery of moving images with or without sound to the general public by electronic communications networks within the meaning of Article 2 (a) of Framework Directive 2002/21/EC.

Source :

Vers un cadre moderne pour les contenus audiovisuels : Consultation publique sur la revision de la Directive de “Télévision sans frontière” www europa.eu.int

Article mis en ligne le 2 septembre 2005
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