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European Council needs to respect public service media priorities on Political Advertising

10 May 2023
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Today, the EBU released an open letter to policymakers on the trilogue negotiations on political advertising, ahead of the Working Party meeting this Friday. The letter outlined the media sector’s stance on issues related to the definition, editorial content and transparency obligations.

Wouter Gekiere, Head of the EBU’s Brussels Office said: “Public service journalism is not political advertising. The media needs to be free to report on politics as they see fit. The EU has the opportunity to protect this fundamental right by creating a clear definition and excluding editorial content. While TV and radio will fully adhere to the transparency requirements, they need flexibility in how they meet these obligations.”

Key aspects that policymakers must consider are:

  • Definition of political advertising: a clear definition of how to identify political advertising is key to getting a right-on-target regulation. Political advertising should not be confused with political reporting, which aims to enable voters to make an informed choice, nor with commercial advertising, which has the objective to inform consumers. An overly broad definition could be counterproductive and encompass content outside the target of this regulation. 
  • Editorial content: we believe that the final text should clarify that all editorial content, and not just political opinions, published and disseminated in all editorial media is not considered political advertisement unless it has been published for remuneration. 
  • Transparency obligations: we take note that both the Parliament’s and the Council’s mandates offer flexibility with regards to how information is disclosed to viewers and listeners, by allowing the use of dedicated URL (onscreen or via audio means) or QR code (recital 40), which would mean efficient, straight-forward and less burdensome compliance for traditional media. 

Relevant links and documents


Julie Lenoir

EU Policy Adviser