The EU Ministers for Culture and the Media reached agreement today in Brussels on a Common Position regarding the revision of the EU Directive "Television without Frontiers". Minister of State, Bernd Neumann, who has led the negotiations on behalf of Germany's EU Council Presidency said: "This is an important day for television and the new audiovisual media services in Europe. By the new Directive, we will be creating a stable regulatory framework in Europe that will boost growth in this industry. The importance of public broadcasting is acknowledged. At the same time, the new Directive will secure key elements of our democratic society such as the protection of minors and human dignity, cultural wealth and the diversity of opinion and information - in all audiovisual media services. I am pleased that we have managed to find a solution to this key issue in the European media landscape under Germany's Council Presidency."
With the support of all parties concerned we have managed to combine the best elements of the proposals put forward by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council.
"For Germany, it was particularly important at the negotiations that we managed to secure the possibility of maintaining our high standard in relation to the protection of minors by limiting onward dissemination in the event of obvious, serious and grave infringements as well as the notice-and-take-down procedure of the E-Commerce Directive in relation to "non-linear" (on-demand) services," the Minister of State Bernd Neumann said, commenting on the key regulations of the Directive.
The quantitative limits on advertising have been reduced to a minimum and made more flexible. Bernd Neumann: "The daily advertising limits are to be removed and hourly advertising rules are to be simplified. This will provide private television broadcasters with a secure basis for their future activities and hence offer viewers a wide range of advertising-financed information and entertainment services."
As far as product placement is concerned, Germany was unfortunately unable to fully enforce its demand for a total ban. "The majorities in Europe differed", the Minister of State Bernd Neumann said. "Nonetheless we managed to reach a compromise that will protect consumers by virtue of clear identification requirements and will safeguard editorial independence. Product placement will be banned in children's programmes. The text of the Directive also stipulates that thematic placement is and will continue to be prohibited, Mr. Neumann said.
The Directive also provides for the protection of minors from advertising of unhealthy food products. The regulations will hold the advertising industry and service providers accountable. The new Directive will also enhance media access for people with visual or hearing disabilities.
The new transmission techniques have made it necessary to amend the existing EU Television without Frontiers Directive and hence the current statutory framework in order to ensure optimum competitive conditions and legal security for European companies and services in the field of audiovisual services and to ensure cultural and language diversity is observed.