Egmont Institute logo

Towards an audiovisual media services directive: an analysis of the Commission’s proposal

Post thumbnail print


The current “Television without frontiers” (TVWF) Directive constitutes the basic regulation of the European Community’s broadcasting policy. Adopted in 1989, the Directive provides for the free movement of television broadcasting services in the Union as it requires Member States to guarantee the freedom of reception and transmission on their territory of television programmes which originate from other Member States. Consequently, the Directive harmonized certain national programming and advertising rules. With the aim of protecting the European TV market, it also introduced broadcasting quota for European and independent works. In the light of the rapid developments in the television sector, a revision of the Directive took place in 1997.
Since 2002, the Commission is engaged in a new revision process in order to modernise the rules on televised services. It has also examined the possibility to extend the scope of these rules to cover all services which have an audiovisual content, including new media services delivered by Internet, email, mobile communication, etc. On 13 December 2005, the Commission eventually adopted the legislative proposal for the revision of the Directive.
The aim of this paper is to analyse the Commission’s strategy in reviewing the regulatory framework. First, we will shortly discuss and evaluate the underlying principles of the present Directive. We will subsequently take a look at the elements which require a revision of the Directive. Third, we will examine the Commission’s proposal and we will conclude with some critical comments.
(Photo credit: rockcohen, Flickr)