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Europe

Market regulation and media regulation on digitalized markets are inextricably intertwined due to extensive legislation such as the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the ePrivacy Directive or the European Media Freedom Act. European policy in areas such as free competition, data protection, consumer protection and networks are now more relevant than ever to commercial media operators and their business models, alongside media-specific regulation.

VAUNET positions

The DMA is a milestone in the regulation of powerful market gatekeepers. However, efficient national measures such as the German GWB Act against Restraints of Competition mustn’t be allowed to be thwarted by the DMA.

Press release
Digital Markets Act

The DMA is an adjunct to existing European and national antitrust law. VAUNET is campaigning to ensure that the existing antitrust supervision of digital ecosystems with cross-market significance in Germany isn’t impeded by the DMA. Additional measures are needed in the ad tech sector and for interoperability requirements.

Press release

The access, retrievability and sustainable refinancing of journalistic and editorial content of professional media providers must be strengthened to offset disinformation on the internet.

Press release
Digital Services Act

The DSA will regulate online platforms regarding transparency, online advertising, recommendation systems and illegal content, among other things. The formulation of transparency obligations and the liability of large platforms still fall short of expectations. It’s imperative that the DSA is enforced by independent national authorities in order to support the actors contributing to a trustworthy online environment.

Press release

A European act designed to promote freedom in the media is intended to lay down fundamental principles while – as an EU directive – providing member states with sufficient interpretive scope.

VAUNET position paper
European Media Freedom Act

The planned EMFA is meant to reinforce media freedom and pluralism, to strengthen the independence of the media (including its editorial independence), and to create transparent media markets. The majority of this is already sufficiently regulated in Germany. By contrast, adopting the instrument of a regulation would be inadequate to reflect the diverse national peculiarities of European media markets. In addition, the relationship with other sector-specific rules like the Audiovisual Media Services Directive will be pivotal.

VAUNET position paper

Content is refinanced by data-driven models. Innovation-friendly data protection is indispensable for the media.

E-Privacy Directive

Commercial media companies have shown for many years that they are able to handle personal data ethically. Demands for more restrictive data protection – such as excessive information and consent requirements or even advertising and targeting bans – make it hard for media companies to develop innovative digital offerings and keep up with global competition.

Technology and network neutrality must remain core principles of digital media regulation, including in connection with new, innovative distribution channels.

Distribution channels

The broadcasting industry is based on an extensive multi-platform strategy, and it must be permanently ensured that audiences are able to freely receive broadcasting prorams on all the methods of reception they use. Biased political technology regulation that ignores actual usage patterns would mean reduced coverage and deprive many commercial broadcasters of their economic basis, not to mention jeopardize media diversity.

The broadcasting and cultural frequencies (sub-700 MHz band) must remain exclusively available to broadcasting and the arts beyond 2030.

Position paper
Frequency policy

Preparations are currently underway for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023. The Alliance for Broadcasting and Cultural Frequencies campaigns for development prospects and planning security for terrestrial broadcasting. Only the unchanged, exclusive allocation of UHF TV frequencies (470–694 MHz band) at WRC 2023 primarily to broadcasting and secondarily to wireless equipment will safeguard terrestrial TV broadcasting and wireless media production.

Position paper

To protect the public and ensure a level playing field for media providers, high standards of transparency and reporting in (targeted) political advertising are also required for online platforms.

Political advertising

In European legislation governing the transparency of political advertising, maintaining both the subsidiarity principle and the distinction between political advertising, business advertising and editorial contributions is vital. Even so, the regulation of political advertising in traditional broadcasting should continue to be subject to national legislative competence.

Commercial media play an important part on digital markets, which these days are increasingly networked, often on a global scale. This is both an opportunity and a challenge for media variety and the diversity of opinion. Commercial broadcasters now find themselves reaching their fragmented audiences via platforms and intermediaries such as social media, search engines and app stores – while they’re also at the mercy of their business policies.

The stage is often set by the implementation of EU directives and other pertinent regulations. At a European level, too, a level playing field is essential for fair competition, especially given the appetite of global big tech platforms for acquisitions and monopolies.

A diverse, competitive media landscape in Europe needs a flexible regulatory environment.

The current situation regarding media law varies from one EU country to the next. Only in a few other member states are the access of commercial audio and audiovisual companies to the media market as well as the supervision of journalistic practice and editorial content already as highly regulated as in Germany. Any harmonization of European rules carries the risk of not just double regulation and feedback effects but also unclear boundaries of responsibility between the individual levels for Germany’s media sector. This issue is further complicated by Germany’s constitution, for under its federal system, the Länder (federal regions) are in charge of the media. A competitive media landscape in Europe – whose value lies above all in its diversity and regionality – needs a flexible regulatory environment.

In addition to media-specific EU regulations such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), cross-sectoral rules in areas such as data protection law and platform regulation may also affect the refinancing of content. Coherence at all levels is therefore crucial – not just among the various political initiatives, which must always take media policy concerns into account, but also given the way in which regional, national and European levels are intertwined.

Working closely with European media associations, VAUNET campaigns at the European level for the regulation of digital markets in a manner which is fair and also embraces innovation. At the same time, the member states must still retain sufficient scope in the implementation of European regulatory projects so that the diverse national and regional characteristics of Europe’s media market are adequately reflected.
To this end, VAUNET highlights the concerns of the commercial media sector by means of individual projects not necessarily specific to one sector or another. It advocates a holistic approach in which each legislative and regulatory project undergoes a media impact assessment. This will require the even closer coordination of the media and digital policy agendas of the EU, the federal government, and regional government in Germany.

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Autor:in und Ansprechpartner:in
Thomas Wierny

EU Legal and Policy Officer

Tel. 0032 (02) 7 38 76 19

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Politik & Recht
Politik & Recht
TV- und Radiounternehmen sind cross-mediale Multi-Channel-Anbieter und starke digitale Player: Wettbewerbs- und Netzpolitik, Datenschutz- und Urheberrecht sowie Plattformregulierung sind für die Medienunternehmen relevanter denn je. Das erfordert künftig eine noch stärkere Abstimmung zwischen EU, Bund und Ländern.
Verband
Verband
Der VAUNET ist der Spitzenverband der Audio- und audiovisuellen Medienunternehmen in Deutschland und die größte Interessenvertretung des privaten Rundfunks in Europa.
Branche
AV-Medienbranche
Rund tausend private Radio- und Fernsehprogramme sowie hunderte Audio- und Video-On-Demand-Angebote stehen in Deutschland für eine weltweit einmalige Anbieter- und Angebotsvielfalt.
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