NMA: Europe’s AVMS Directive ‘Must Not Impede Press Sector’

The News Media Association has stressed that any EU revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive must not lead to new controls over press online content and newspaper websites. The AVMSD harmonised the audiovisual rules of the Member States.

It regulates television broadcasts and online on-demand services. It applies to programmes that are TV-like and for which providers have editorial responsibility.

During its EU legislative passage and UK implementation, the NMA and its European counterparts argued hard and successfully against the industry’s online publishing activities and websites being caught by the directive.

To date, publishers have been able to rely upon the protective provisions achieved as a result of industry lobbying. Ofcom and the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice have considered that the newspaper publishers’ online activities involving audiovisual content in the cases before them are indeed outside the scope of the directive

The European Commission is now considering responses to its consultation on review of the AVMSD. The NMA’s submission has stressed that online news services and newspaper websites must remain free of the controls imposed by the directive

NMA legal policy and regulatory affairs director Santha Rasaiah said: “The AVMS directive must not impede the vitality or future development of the press sector in any way. Any revision of the directive must not result in any increased restrictions upon freedom of expression or press freedom. Nor should any change be made to the commercial detriment of the press sector.

“The press sector, in print and online, including its text and audiovisual content, must remain outside the scope of the directive.

“No new press controls be introduced  or new  restrictions imposed upon journalism, text or audiovisual,  or other content published in print , online or over other platforms, as the result of any revision of the directive. No new powers should be created that could lead to the establishment of new regulators with jurisdiction over the press.”