Joint press release: European audiovisual and cultural organisations welcome the EU Parliament adoption of its position on the EMFA

European professional organisations of the audiovisual and cultural sectors welcome the clarifications brought by the European Parliament on Article 20 of the European Media Freedom Act, voted in plenary on 3 October, that will prevent the provision of this article being used to challenge or weaken ambitious cultural policies set out by Member States to promote European audiovisual creation.

The improvements made by the European Parliament on Article 20 and recital 38 highlight the positive commitment of the Parliament to maintain obligations in favour of creation, taking into account the concerns of the audiovisual and cultural sectors.

In June, a broad coalition of 73 European and national organisations from the audiovisual and cultural sectors addressed the Commission, Council and Parliament with a joint letter expressing their concern that the Commission’s proposal for the European Media Freedom Act (Article 20) would embed national cultural policies into internal market rules, which could end up disrupting key policies implemented by Member States to support film and TV creation and local ecosystems.

The signatories welcome the improved text, with Article 20 now restricted to measures liable to affect media pluralism and the editorial independence of media service providers and recital 38 clarifying that the provision “does not aim to affect national measures implementing Directive 2010/13/EU, in so far as they do not affect media pluralism and editorial independence, national measures taken pursuant to Article 167 TFEU, national measures taken for the purpose of promoting European works or national measures which are otherwise governed by State aid rules.”

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Directive 2010/13/EU) is the cornerstone of European media law, fostering European creation, production and distribution. The European Media Freedom Act is a much-needed legislation to protect media freedom, independence and pluralism, as well as journalists. However, it is paramount that both existing and new regulations complement each other and do not risk undermining or having a negative impact on each other. The European Parliament’s improved text strengthens this complementarity.

Our organisations thank the Culture Committee rapporteur Sabine Verheyen and shadow rapporteurs Petra Kammerevert, Irena Joveva, Diana Riba I Giner, Andrey Slabakov and Stelios Kouloglou for having reached a satisfactory compromise on this important provision of the EMFA.

We trust the trilogue negotiations will take into consideration the willingness of both the Parliament and the Council to find the right approach to preserve media pluralism, freedom of expression and cultural diversity across Europe.