International issues

IRIS Special 2002 - Jurisdiction over Broadcasters in Europe - Report on a Round-table Discussion & Selection of Background Materials

Author: Susanne Nikoltchev (Ed.), European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/12/2002

Whilst the Observatory can already look back at a series of workshops co-organised with our partner institution, the Institute for Information Law (IViR), it was for the first time that the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) joined our combined efforts in providing a forum for the exploration of an important legal issue. Eighteen experts from ten different European countries, whose names are listed in Annex A, participated in this brainstorming on jurisdictional problems. Without their contributions this IRIS Special would not have been possible. Neither would it exist without the efforts and strong commitment of Greger Lindberg, co-organiser for EPRA and Chairperson of the round-table, Ad van Loon, co-organiser for IViR and co-author of the report, and, last but certainly not least, Tarlach McGonagle (IViR), roundtable rapporteur, co-author of the report and helping hand in assembling the Annex.

The round-table topic "Jurisdiction over Broadcasters in Europe" is important firstly because it is about the distribution of power among states to regulate broadcasting services. Broadcasting is not only a centrepiece of the weighty audiovisual industry; as a major outlet for information it is also a pillar of democracy. Jurisdiction over broadcasters entails the mandate to issue national legislation applicable to broadcasters, to assure its implementation and to provide related (administrative and judicial) control mechanisms. Secondly, two European legal instruments currently under scrutiny address "Jurisdiction over Broadcasters in Europe" and even though their pertinent jurisdiction clauses have already been amended, case law indicates that a number of jurisdiction problems remain unsolved. Apparently further clarifications, if not changes, to the text are needed.

What are the remaining difficulties in determining jurisdiction? What disputes were brought before the courts and how have they been solved? What clarifications should be made to European legislation? The workshop aimed to penetrate the many facets of these questions and to fuel the discussion with background information, problem analysis and expert knowledge. The results of this enterprise are reflected in the following "Report on a Round-table Discussion" published as an IRIS Special mirroring the title of the round-table discussion: "Jurisdiction over Broadcasters in Europe".

The Report is supplemented by a compilation of background material, partly source references (with Internet links), and partly (edited) texts. These documents are meant to facilitate the efforts of all those who wish to work with primary sources when following, or contributing to, the general discussion. Most of the material was also used by the round-table participants and therefore underlies the report. All reprinted texts are copied from the original authenticated versions. Editing was limited to omitting parts that we judged to be of no or only minor relevance to the issue of jurisdiction. Those omissions are indicated by square brackets.