Commission: updating TV rules slow and too much red tape

The European Commission says one year after the entry into force of a new EU Directive meant to liberalise TV rules and remove outdated and bureaucratic restrictions on the provision of digital TV over the Internet, video on demand and mobile TV in Europe, EU Member States have made little progress in adapting national rules.

Only Romania has comprehensively implemented the new EU audiovisual media rules that entered into force on 19 December 2007. The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers on a proposal from the Commission rebooted the old EU rules on traditional TV broadcasting for the digital age and its new generation of TV-like services. The other 26 Member States are currently putting the modernised rules for Europe’s audiovisual industry into national law. They have until December 2009. By then the EU should have a single market for all audiovisual media services, providing legal certainty for businesses and more diverse and quality programming for viewers.

“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 Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “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 For Member States, this represents a chance to abolish outdated restrictions, to strengthen co- and self-regulation, especially in advertising, to strengthen the right to information, and to promote quality and diversity.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. “

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