Debates on draft directive on Television without Frontiers Directive

By EDRi · February 2, 2006

During the Oxford Media Convention on 19 January 2006, Hon.Tessa Jowell,
the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport expressed the opinion
that a European Union plan to introduce Internet regulation was unwelcome,
arguing that new media were best left to govern themselves.

The statement comes at a time when the European Union is trying to overhaul
the 1989 Television Without Frontiers directive, which sets out a baseline
for broadcast regulation across Europe. On 13 December 2005 the Commission
presented its draft directive amending the Television without Frontiers
Directive (TWF). The proposed changes include amendments that refer to the
transmission of the audio-visual content using mobile and internet services.

Ms. Tessa Jowel described the current text of the European Commission
proposals for a revised Television Without Frontiers Directive “as a whole
..still unacceptable”, “highly bureaucratic”, and contrary to the Lisbon
Agenda on de-regulation. “If we want further regulation,” Ms Jowell said,
“then I believe that the best approach is to rely as far as possible on
self-regulation.”She also stated that the E-Commerce Directive already
covers the Internet and that the best solutions are self-regulatory.

On the same day, 19 January 2006, the findings of the study “Co-Regulation
Measures in the Media Sector” issued by the European Commission, Directorate
Information Society and Media and conducted by the Hans-Bredow-Institute in
cooperation with the Institute of European Media Law in Saarbr├╝cken were
discussed within a seminar that gathered more than 80 experts in Brussels.

The purpose of the study was to provide an overview of the situation of the
co-regulatory measures in the media sector in all 25 Member States and in
three non-EU-countries, indicating the areas in which these measures mainly
apply, their effects and their consistency with public interest objectives.
The study covers different co-regulation measures, including protection of
minors in Internet services in several countries.

The participants emphasised the importance of having a precise definition of
co-regulation especially in the light of the new TWF proposal.
Interested parties are invited to comment on the draft report by the 5
February 2006.

Minister opposes EU plan to regulate Internet (20.01.2006)
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13130-2001048,00.html

Oxford Media Convention – another view (20.01.2006)
http://www.ofcomwatch.co.uk/2006/01/oxford-media-convention-another-view

Legislative proposal for the revision of the “Television without Frontiers”
Directive (13.12.2005)
http://europa.eu.int/comm/avpolicy/regul/regul_en.htm#4

TV without Frontiers: Commission proposes modernised rules for digital era
TV and TV-like services (13.12.2005)
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1573&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Presentation of the draft final report “Co-Regulation Measures in the Media
Sector” (20.01.2006)
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=2405

Report Co-Regulation Measures in the Media Sector ( 20.01.2006)
http://www.hans-bredow-institut.de/forschung/recht/co-reg/