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Understanding the AVMSD and its new implications for national media law in Europe

The European Audiovisual Observatory has just updated its AVMSD research tools online!
Strasbourg, France 4 November 2021
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Understanding the AVMSD and its new implications for national media law in Europe

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is one of the keystones of media law in the European Union. It was thoroughly revised and extended in autumn 2018. The European Commission set the deadline for transposition into national legislation as being the 19 September 2020 but the process is still ongoing in a certain number of countries.

The Observatory has provided a one stop shop AVMSD information resource online which now allow you to research:

  • Which EU countries have completed the transposition process so as to have fully incorporated the 2018 AVMSD into their national audiovisual legislation;
  • How the various articles have been transposed into national legislation and with what variations on the original text;
  • What new rules and regulations are transpiring from the 2018 AVMSD as compared with the former 2010 version of the AVMSD.

Thanks to extensive research by the Observatory team, you can now get the current state of play regarding AVMSD transposition by using:

The AVMSDatabase

This database allows you to make interactive searches across the national transpositions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2018/1808 (AVMSD) in the 27 EU member states.

Each provision of the AVMSD (article, paragraph, subparagraph) is associated with the corresponding provision(s) of national primary legislations, so as to allow searches by article and/or by country. So you can for example: see how a particular country has implemented any articles; compare the new articles in national law with the old articles from the 2010 version of the AVMSD for any given country; compare the way in which different countries have transposed one particular article. The resulting search will give you the correct reference legal texts for each transposed provision of the AVMS Directive. The results of the queries are exportable both as Word and PDF files and as comparative tables in Excel files.

The national rules will be gradually fed into the AVMSDatabase as soon as they are made available to the Observatory in original language and English translation and checked by the Observatory team with its pool of national experts. Mistakes may still occur, so should you detect any, feedback is very welcome and can be sent to iris.obs [ at ]

A first set of nine countries is available today (AT, BG, FI, HU, LT, LV, MT, PT and SE).

The AVMSDatabase is co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

The AVMSD Tracker

This extensive table gives an easy to digest informative overview of the current state of play for AVMSD transposition in each EU member state.

The legal texts listed in the table include final adopted laws and decrees, as well as draft proposals published as part of national consultations, presented or currently debated by the member states' legislative bodies.

For each country listed the table will gradually be completed by a country EXCEL table which gives you the texts of the original AVMSD article, the original language text of the transposed article in national law plus an English translation. An additional country info sheet provides a quick overview on six major topics (protection of minors, accessibility, European works, advertising, VSPs, media literacy) and the corresponding country link to the full search results in the AVMSDatabase.

The work of updating this table is carried out by the European Audiovisual Observatory through desk research and input from its network of national experts. Any contribution for the update of the table is very welcome and can be sent to iris.obs [@]

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How does Europe protect us from illegal and harmful content on video sharing platforms?

European Audiovisual Observatory releases new comparative mapping report
Strasbourg, France 26 October 2021
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How does Europe protect us from illegal and harmful content on video sharing platforms?

Download "Mapping report on the rules applicable to video-sharing platforms" here

Video sharing platforms (VSPs) such as YouTube have opened up an incredible online world of content: films, music and even how-to-do tutorials are now available on a massive scale at a single click. However they can also be a potential source of harmful content for children and other sectors of society and contribute to the spread of illegal content inciting to violence and hatred. European media law has long contained provisions to try and limit potential damage to viewers on traditional media. However given that European audiovisual legislation was given a major overhaul in the shape of the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in 2018, with the extension of its scope to video-sharing platforms, it's time to look at its new rules concerning new media. And as the deadline for transposition into national law was September 2020, it's useful to compare and contrast the different approaches currently in practice in the various European countries thanks to the European Audiovisual Observatory's new report, co-financed by the European Commission under the Creative Europe programme: Mapping report on the rules applicable to video-sharing platforms.

This report maps the different approaches of EU27 countries plus the UK and Norway. It's the result of intensive collaboration with a network of national correspondents in each country, coordinated by the Strasbourg-based Observatory.

The first chapter presents the key findings of the report and is followed by a second chapter on the methodology applied by the study. The third chapter contains the comparative analysis of the national regulatory framework, the measures imposed on VSPs in order to protect us from harmful and illegal content, their application in practice and enforcement. It also includes feedback from a number of stakeholders (Dailymotion, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch) on the measures they have put in place to comply with the new obligations. An overview of the most significant ongoing research and studies in the field is contained in chapter 4. The report is completed by 30 extensive country factsheets, each one mirroring the study of the comparative analysis.

Key findings of this new mapping report:

  • For the moment, the AVMSD provisions have been transposed into national legislation without much variation or further elaboration.
  • The AVMSD's definitions of what a video-sharing platform actually is have been transposed almost verbatim into national legislation.
  • The vast majority of measures included in the AVMSD aimed at protecting the public from certain content have been included in national legislation.
  • These measures put the emphasis on technical measures and flagging/notification systems to enable take-down of harmful content.
  • Efficient ways of dealing with user complaints are also part of the measures stipulated in the new AVMSD.
  • National regulatory authorities (NRAs) will assume a greater role in the regulation and enforcement of the new rules, their supervision and enforcement, dispute resolution and the development of self- and co-regulatory measures.
  • Both the NRAs and VSPs are called upon to launch media and information literacy activities. These should contain obligations for the VSPs themselves but should also concern a wider range of stakeholders too.
  • Some of the new measures cover areas dealt with by other public institutions, such as data protection. In such cases co-operative arrangements will be needed.
  • Given the cross-border nature of VSPs, the NRAs will need to enhance their cooperation in order to efficiently oversee the application of the new AVMSD rules.

So if you want to know more about how European legislation aims at protecting us from harmful and illegal content on video-sharing platforms… Read our new mapping report!

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