NEWS published on 06 Dec 2023

How to ensure prominence? Piecing together the EU rulebook

How to ensure prominence? Piecing together the EU rulebook

On 5 December, nearly 40 stakeholders joined a workshop on the prominence of audiovisual media services of general interest organized by the European Audiovisual Observatory with the support of the EBU. Specifically, the event aimed to discuss the rules on prominence of audiovisual media services of general interest as set out in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), seen in the wider context of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). The prominence of general interest media content and services is so contentious because, in today’s market, access to this media is increasingly intermediated by interface operators and platforms.

Richard Burnley, Director of Legal and Policy, EBU, said: “Audiences struggle to find the media that matter most to them. This is why it is of utmost importance that general interest media services and content are given appropriate prominence where needed. What public service media need is for governments to get serious and to adopt prominence measures, as outlined in the AVMSD. This is a question of the long-term sustainability of the European media sector - it is an existential question for us.”

Participants included representatives of public service media, commercial broadcasters, VOD platforms, big tech and civil society discussed together with numerous researchers and media regulators the current regulatory framework.

Given current prioritisation practices by media content distributors, participants underlined the importance of giving prominence to media services of general interest. Prominence measures contribute to media pluralism, cultural diversity, and ensure that citizens can enjoy the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information.  In the case of public service media, audiences are funding, for example via a licence fee, the content and must be enabled to find and enjoy it.

Media pluralism is a common objective recognised by EU and European rulebooks, which must urgently be translated into concrete prominence measures in more than just a handful of countries. The workshop demonstrated the importance of an open and ongoing dialogue with all stakeholders on how to draft balanced, proportionate and effective rules and the EBU stands ready to provide recommendations where needed.