EBU's Head of Regulatory Legal Affairs, Richard Burnley, participated in a panel on remit at a public workshop organised by the European Audiovisual Observatory in Brussels on the remit and financing of public service media online.
A panel discussion led by Observatory Legal Expert, Maja Cappello, examined the remit of public service media online, focusing in particular on the EU State aid rules and the role of the public value test. Krzysztof Wojciechowski, adviser to the Board of EBU Member TVP, provided information about the latest developments at the national level in Poland. Celene Craig, Chair of the Irish Broadcasting Authority and the European Platform for Regulatory Authorities (BAI & EPRA) explained the situation in Ireland, and discussed how to assess new PSM services for their public value and impact on the market. Carolina Lorenzon of Mediaset provided a perspective from the commercial sector in Italy.
Richard Burnley emphasised that the public value test can only be considered in the context of a global audiovisual services market involving fierce competition from a multitude of global conglomerates. It must be applied in a proportionate manner relative to the size of the broadcaster and its market. A public value test is only one way of launching new services; another way would be to amend the PSM management contract according to normal legislative procedures. Overall the public value test, if used, should facilitate PSM audiovisual innovation rather than limit it, taking into account also the very high legal threshold to prohibit a public interest service according to European case law.
Ansgar Held from DG Competition (State Aid Unit), European Commission, confirmed that the Commission had no intention of opening up the Broadcasting Communication 2009 for review. He added that the guidance contained in the Communication on the public value test is sufficiently clear and flexible for Member States to apply it in a proportionate and appropriate way, relative to the market.