MEPs at the European Parliament backed plans on Tuesday (2 October) to ensure that at least 30% of content provided by online media platforms such as Amazon and Netflix is European.
The new rules, as part of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, would also apply to video-sharing and video-on-demand services, as well as traditional broadcasters. MEPs adopted the text by 452 votes to 132.
Additional plans as part of the rules include a ban on content that incites violence, hatred and terrorism – while television that depicts gratuitous violence and pornography would also be hit.
The platforms themselves are to become responsible for responding with haste and efficiency to complaints about these forms of content.
One of the rapporteurs for the file, German EPP Sabine Verheyen, praised the new restrictions.
“It will be possible for adults to implement filtering software on the content of their children and also to have age verification software on content that may be harmful,” she said.
The directive will also oblige broadcasters to set limits up to a maximum of 20% for advertising material between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.
However, GUE’s Greek MEP Nikolaos Chountis was not so upbeat about this section of the report, saying the rules are not sufficient to stem the quantity of advertising on our screens.
“Much more needs to be done to curb an easing of advertising, teleshopping and production placement rules across the board,” he said.
EPP’s Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt also revealed that she had voted against the directive, calling the requirement to have at least 30% of the content on streaming services as “protectionist” and “non-innovative,” while Estonia’s ALDE MEP Yana Toom said the new rules represent an “unimplementable piece of legislation.”
Röstade emot de nya reglerna om audiovisuella medietjänster #AVMSD i EU. Att minst 30 % av innehållet i streamingtjänster såsom HBO & Netflix ska vara producerat inom unionen är protektionistiskt och icke innovativt. Kvantitet betyder inte kvalitet eller tillväxt @EP_Sverige
— Anna Maria Corazza B (@AnnaMariaCB) October 2, 2018
The report has been mired in controversy since its inception. It had earlier transpired that the two rapporteurs appointed to steer the file, Verheyen and her German compatriot, socialist Petra Kammerevert, have been paid representatives of German public broadcaster Westdeutsche Rundfunk Köln. This caused concern among members of the parliament’s Culture and Education Committee about a possible conflict of interest.
Before the rules come into force, however, the directive still needs to be approved by the Council. If adopted, member states will have a timeline of 21 months to transpose into national law the new requirements.
The organisation representing the EU’s tech industry, Digital Europe, has put pressure on the Council to consider not implementing too restrictive parameters in any revisions it deems necessary.
“A moderate approach, where member states avoid overly prescriptive provisions and leave room for innovation, would make it easier for service providers and consumers to adapt to an increasingly diverse, dynamic and vibrant European market,” said Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, director-general of Digital Europe.