AVMS directive: Legal framework must balance competitiveness and consumer protection

This revision must protect children while also safeguarding freedom of speech, says Daniel Buda.

Daniel Buda | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Daniel Buda

07 Feb 2017

This proposal, part of the digital single market strategy, seeks to modernise the audiovisual media landscape and bring it up to speed with market, consumption and technological changes. The audiovoisual media services (AVMS) directive will have significant impact on the market, representing a key economic, social and cultural aspect in the EU.

The European Parliament's legal affairs committee wanted to ensure that the improved legal framework creates a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection, facilitates access to online content and guarantees adequate and uniform protection of citizens (especially minors) from harmful content and hate speech on the internet.

I believe that one of our Commission's purposes is to ensure that this proposal guarantees an effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. 


In this context, extending support for promotion, visibility and distribution of European works is an important objective. Cultural diversity in Europe is safeguarded by ensuring a high level of copyright protection - which guarantees fair remuneration to both the authors and the rights holders - while stimulating investments in the cultural and creative sectors. 

It is therefore important to empower online platforms and intermediaries in order to ensure proper enforcement of intellectual property rights and facilitate better protection of minors, by blocking harmful content that incites violence or hatred.

However, for such measures to work, we need proportionate common rules that do not undermine the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right that should not be misused as an excuse to cover these practices.

Nevertheless, I strongly consider that the proposal's new amendments should ensure commitment to the provisions of the charter of fundamental rights of the EU and of the EU treaty, which guarantee the respect of the fundamental rights of European citizens, taking into account the general public interest and the application of the principles of proportionality and transparency - as is reflected in the draft opinion.

As regards extending the scope of the AVMSD to video-sharing platforms, the initial objective of the Commission's proposal must be maintained: we should take into account the uniform application of legislation both to the linear- and non-linear services. 

Moreover, media convergence means that the rights and obligations of traditional services need to be aligned with those of new players. This should be fully incorporated in the AVMS review.

In light of the above, I strongly believe that this proposal takes into account changes in the audiovisual media landscape since the last revision, to ensure that the AVMSD will provide a modernised, flexible and forward looking legal framework. I also believe that the amendments in the draft opinion reflect the key economic, social and cultural role that the media sector plays in the EU.


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