The European Commission has called on member states to maintain a light hand as they update TV regulations in 2009.
The call from Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, comes on the first anniversary of the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive coming into force. However with 12 months left for the 26 member states to adopt the regime, only Romania has comprehensively implemented the new legislation, which includes guidance on video on demand, mobile video, and advertising.
“The new EU rules are an opportunity to create a single market for the digital age, and I urge Member States to put them in place quickly and in a flexible manner so that TV producers, broadcasters and viewers benefit from them as soon as possible,” said Reding. “We updated the EU’s rules on TV because of rapidly changing technology and the need to strengthen the competitiveness of Europe’s audiovisual industry. For Member States, this represents a chance to abolish outdated restrictions, to strengthen co- and self-regulation, especially in advertising, to strengthen the right to information, and to promote quality and diversity. However, I am concerned that some Member States appear to see the new rules as an excuse for adding red tape. We have created better regulation at EU level and I expect Member States to do the same at national level. ”
Of the other 26 EU member states, along with the European Economic Area and candidate countries, many are only just preparing to implement the rules. Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain have still to hold consultations. However, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands and Portugal have drafts ready to put before their parliaments early next year.
Luxembourg has already implemented some of the rules, with Austria bringing legislation into force early next year. The new law is also set to be adopted by both chambers of the French parliament.