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New online platforms and AVMS Directive Proposal published by Commission

The 25 May was the day the Commission published a number of legislative proposals and communications, with three specifically interesting documents; ‘Proposal for an updated Audiovisual Media Services Directive’, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on addressing geo-blocking’ and a ‘Communication on Online Platforms’.

The new AVMSD should, for example, lead to obligations for platforms in the shape of European content quota of 20%, and it proposes more flexibility for broadcasters in the area of advertisement. Crucially the Geo-blocking proposal excludes the AV sector (based on the exclusion in the Service Directive). The Communication on online platforms contains a number of interesting aspects around notice and action, platform liability and copyright reform.

On 21 June, the CULT Committee held an exchange of views on the AVMS Directive. Both co-rapporteurs Kammerevert (S&D, DE) and Verheyen (EPP, DE) expressed doubts about the Commission’s proposed quotas for European content, with Verheyen in favour of a ‘flexible quota where member states can decide’. Silvia Costa (S&D, IT) stressed the need for a level playing field in the field of TV and online distribution in order to ensure rights for users. Representatives of the Commission highlighted the proposals bring flexibility to TV regarding ads. Moreover, video sharing platforms will fall under the AVMS directive, arguing that there will be an obligation to put measures to protect minors and all viewers on hate speech. While the questions around the potential conflict of interest of the two rapporteurs have subsided, The European United Left/Nordic Green Left group (GUE/NGL) stated that the major political groups should have been more careful in making sure that MEPs working on this directive have no involvement with other media or national broadcasters. The deadline for amendments is 13 October and the committee vote is set for December. The vote in plenary is expected to take place in the beginning of 2017.

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