Media freedom rules vs. the promotion of European audiovisual content

Freedom of Artistic Expression and Cultural Policy Media Regulation Cultural Diversity EuroFIA News

EuroFIA, along with various other organizations in the audiovisual sector, has jointly signed an open letter to the European Commission expressing significant concerns about the potential impact of the proposed European Media Freedom Act on cultural audiovisual policies.

The European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) is a newly drafted regulation aimed at safeguarding media pluralism and independence within the internal market. It encompasses measures to prevent political interference in editorial decisions and surveillance. The proposal emphasizes the importance of independent and stable funding for public service media, transparency in media ownership and state advertising allocation, as well as measures to protect the independence of editors. Furthermore, it seeks to closely examine the impact of media concentrations on media pluralism and editorial independence, which is commendable and worthy of support.

The proposed act primarily governs the provision of media services, specifically radio or television broadcasts and press publications. However, it may also encompass on-demand audiovisual media services, such as video-sharing platforms or large online content platforms, if these platforms exert some level of editorial control over their services.

One provision within the current draft regulation stipulates that any legislative, regulatory, or administrative measure taken by a Member State that may affect the media must be justified and proportionate. Although this provision intends to prevent undue interference from countries that may impede media independence and pluralism, the broad scope of this provision (Article 20) might grant certain media services the ability to challenge national policies aimed at supporting local content production and preserving the sustainability of the cultural ecosystem. These challenges could be based on claims that such policies constitute discriminatory and disproportionate obstacles to their economic activities. Consequently, the internal market would take precedence over national cultural policies designed to enhance the promotion and distribution of European works.

FIA will diligently monitor developments in this field and collaborate with all co-signatories of this letter to ensure that the EMFA does not serve unintended purposes.

Read the joint statement of EuroFIA and other audiovisual sector stakeholders (EN only).

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