The Audiovisual Media Services Directive: Balancing Liberalisation and Protection (Draft)
Forthcoming Handbook on EU Media Law and Policy, Elda Brogi and Pier Luigi Parcu (eds.) Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020
20 Pages Posted: 26 May 2020
Date Written: Febrary 11, 2019
Keeping EU law up to date with the technological developments and service innovations in the audiovisual sector has been a persistent policy challenge. The core piece of legislation in this area started out as the Television without Frontiers Directive (TWFD), adopted in 1989, and became the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in 2007. The AVMSD was significantly revised again in 2018 to go even further, bringing into scope online services that were nascent or not even launched yet in 2007. Expanding the scope of the AVMSD entailed balancing risks to freedom of expression with important consumer protections and the aim of protecting national media industries vital to the cultural and political life in member states. This chapter re-traces the roots of the AVMSD, which entailed a balance between the liberalisation that took place in the creation of the common market and protectionism as a response to a perceived threat to European culture. It examines the core elements of the Directive and the extent to which they have been adapted over time. It demonstrates that encouraging European audiovisual production and consumer protection have been the main concerns, while freedom of expression has not been central, despite it being the core media legislation. It argues that the 2018 revisions to Directive move somewhat away from its minimalist liberalising beginnings with attempts to level the playing field between audiovisual media services and video sharing platforms and to provide more protection for media freedom by ensuring independent regulators.
Keywords: Audiovisual media services Directive, European Union, video sharing platforms, media policy
JEL Classification: K39, L82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation