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Media convergence requires EU regulation


12 Mar 2014


Fusion of audiovisual content needs to be prepared
Digitalisation and the internet have changed the framework for media-specific regulation. Viewers, listeners or readers can no longer distinguish whether they get content via the so-called ‘traditional’ radio or via the internet. The result: regulated broadcasting and on-demand services compete on the internet-enabled devices with non-regulated content from the internet.
Two worlds collide: many users use the computer, smartphone or tablet PC as a TV or they surf on the internet with the TV or the game console. Therefore, the European Parliament called today for the adaption of the European legal framework to the new conditions and to review the Directive on audiovisual media services. "For the viewer, it is not clear which content is subject to European requirements. It is therefore necessary that the rights and obligations of broadcasters are brought to balance through a horizontal and cross-media regulatory framework with those of other market participants. This is the only way we can provide effective consumer, youth and data protection in Europe", the European Parliament Rapporteur Sabine Verheyen MEP said. Even if the majority of users in Europe continues to receive audiovisual content primarily through traditional television, at least there is recognition towards a strong trend for additional use of mobile devices.
The majority of MEPs rejected over-regulation, which means that some content cannot be found in its entirety on the internet. "The variety of cultural and audiovisual content on offer must also be accessible and findable in a convergent media world for all European citizens, especially if the users are already offered some kind of content by the appliance manufacturer, network operator and content provider. We must legally ensure non-discriminatory, transparent and open access to the internet for all users and providers of audiovisual services."
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
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