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The future of European information and public broadcasters hand in hand

Submitted by on April 18, 2011 – 09:43No Comment

In the White paper we invite the EU to encour­age Mem­ber States to put Euro­pean infor­ma­tion in the pub­lic broad­cast­ers’ mis­sion. But how can this be done?

While the Euro­pean insti­tu­tions expressed many times their attach­ment to Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing, they also stressed each time their incom­pe­tency in this field.

The Treaty of Amsterdam’s Pro­to­col on the sys­tem of pub­lic broad­cast­ing in the Mem­ber States is very clear on this point : each Mem­ber state define, organ­ise and pro­vide for the fund­ing of the mis­sion of pub­lic broad­cast­ing.

The Euro­pean Union leg­isla­tive action on TV’s and radio’s con­tent actu­ally only con­sists of a restric­tive and cor­rec­tive approach, to pro­tect audi­ence groups such as con­sumers or minors.

Should this become a com­mon sight in pub­lic broad­cast­ers’ stu­dios? © Euro­pean Parliament — Flickr

The rest of the Euro­pean leg­is­la­tion on medias essen­tially con­cerns the loy­alty of com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions and the respect of the com­pe­ti­tion. It aims to develop a strong Euro­pean mar­ket able to face up to the Amer­i­can one. The Audio­vi­sual Media Ser­vice direc­tive adopted on 10 March 2010 is based on the same quota already set up in the Tele­vi­sion with­out fron­tiers Direc­tive of 1989. Thus, Mem­ber States shall ensure that broad­cast­ers reserve for Euro­pean pro­duc­tions a major pro­por­tion of their trans­mis­sion time and that they reserve for works of espe­cially inde­pen­dent Euro­pean pro­duc­ers at least 10% of their trans­mis­sion time or alter­nately, at least 10% of their pro­gram­ming budget.

The finan­cial Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Media Pro­gramme com­pletes this leg­is­la­tion by sup­port­ing move­ment of Euro­pean works.

If this move­ment can increase an inter­cul­tural under­stand­ing between dif­fer­ent regions of Europe, it’s all good. Although, at least three buts come to mind. First, the arti­cles 16 and 17 of the Audio­vi­sual Media Ser­vice Direc­tive add to the rule the for­mula so dear to Mem­ber States: “where prac­ti­cal”. But how do we define the unprac­ti­cal? In real­ity, there are a great vari­ety of situations.

Sec­ondly, the diver­si­fi­ca­tion of the ori­gin of the works can’t pre­judge a diver­si­fi­ca­tion of their con­tent. On the con­trary, we wit­ness a real phe­nom­e­non of homogeni­sa­tion of con­tents all over Europe.

Lastly, let’s no for­get the first moti­va­tion of this kind of leg­is­la­tion: to rein­force the Euro­pean audio­vi­sual mar­ket, con­sid­ered as an indus­try above all. If we don’t change this par­a­digm, the good inten­tions of the fifth “whereas” high­light­ing the cul­tural dimen­sion of media ser­vices, and admit­ting that “their grow­ing impor­tance for democ­racy […] edu­ca­tion and cul­ture jus­ti­fies the appli­ca­tion of spe­cific rules”, will be always passed under a steamroller.

Any­way, back to the point!

If the leg­isla­tive way is cur­rently closed, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment has the pos­si­bil­ity to express a posi­tion in a non-legislative res­o­lu­tion. That’s what he recently did with the Res­o­lu­tion on pub­lic ser­vice broad­cast­ing in the dig­i­tal era: the future of the dual sys­tem (2010/2028(INI)), in which it sup­ported not only the pres­ence of pub­lic ser­vice media on the Web, but also invested them with the fight against numer­i­cal divide and other new tasks inher­ent to this media.

Indeed, the arrival of pub­lic broad­cast­ers on the dig­i­tal area makes nec­es­sary the redefin­ing of their mis­sions in each Mem­ber states. So it seems to be an appro­pri­ate moment to cam­paign for the intro­duc­tion of Euro­pean infor­ma­tion on their mission.

How would you rede­fine the future of pub­lic broad­cast­ers? Let us know in the com­ments below this post or on our forum. You must be logged in to reply. Click here to register.

Related posts:

  1. Inter­net is a part of pub­lic broad­cast­ers’ missions
  2. Should the cov­er­age of Euro­pean affairs become a part of pub­lic broad­cast­ers’ missions?
  3. Make infor­ma­tion on Europe an essen­tial part of pub­lic ser­vice information
  4. Pub­lic broad­cast­ers on the Web: for or against?
  5. Faire de l’information européenne une com­posante essen­tielle de l’information de ser­vice public

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