NEWS published on 02 Jun 2020

The EU’s Digital Services Act: how the EBU will fly the flag for Public Service Media

The European Commission has launched a public consultation of the Digital Services Act (DSA) package and is also seeking feedback on a new competition tool aimed at ensuring competition powers address the needs of the modern economy.

The EBU welcomes the opportunity to contribute our views. The DSA is shaping up to be an ambitious portfolio of policies and legislation that will reflect the influence of online platforms on today’s way of life. Global online platforms have become powerful gatekeepers, disrupting the way European content is displayed, attributed and consumed. It makes sense in an era where broadcast media is an essential trusted source that the DSA should enable future generations to have continued access to the trusted news and information and the rich plurality of views that PSM offers.

In responding to the consultation, the EBU will focus on several areas of utmost importance to Public Service Media. 


  1. Deliver increased responsibility of online platforms. Media have editorial responsibility and liability for the content they publish - in contrast with the limited responsibility of platform operators for the content which they distribute or make available. Platform providers’ responsibilities should be in line with their ability to influence public opinion and their potential to harm citizens. It is key that platforms should not exercise additional control over content and services from media service providers which is already subject to regulation and oversight.


  1. Secure a fair online platform environment. Currently platforms have powerful bargaining power to take unilateral decisions on the organization, display and removal of third-party content, sometimes to favour their own. Competition rules need to be rapidly adapted to the specificities of markets where platforms operate and new rules are needed to address the risks arising from preferential treatment of a platform’s own services.


  1. Ensure access to data to support innovation.  Specific rules are needed to ensure that media organizations have access to the data generated by or related to their content and services on third party platforms, in full respect of data protection rules. Without such access, PSM are restricted in their ability to innovate further and enhance what they can offer to their audiences. Meanwhile, online platforms are not prevented from using others’ data to develop new services and products to their competitive advantage. This is again where reformed competition law will play a key role.


  1. In order for people to easily find and access high-quality, reliable information and programming, we would like to see robust rules that guarantee the prominence of public value content on all major platforms and ensure clear attribution of brands and content.

Public Service Media is looking to EU decision makers to do the right thing for citizens. As the COVID-19 outbreak has escalated across Europe, people have turned to PSM in record numbers. Public service media organizations are part of the social, cultural and democratic fabric of Europe and just as critical now as they have been at any point in their history. At the EBU we will continue to be highly active in contributing to the Digital Services Act as it takes shape.