New updated media rules seek to enhance protection of minors

The MEPs voted on updated rules on audiovisual media services which would apply to broadcasters as well as to the video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms such as Netflix, YouTube or Facebook. The vote saw 452 votes in favour, 132 against and 65 abstentions.

The updated rules seek to enhance protection of minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising. Media services provides are required to have appropriate measures in place that would combat content which incites violence, hatred and terrorism while violence and pornography would be subject of the “strictest rules”. The video-sharing platforms are now responsible for a quick reaction when content is flagged or reported by users. The platforms are now required to create an easy-to-use mechanism with which users can report content which they deem as harmful.

Advertising is also regulated by the updated measures, which see strict rules apply on advertising, product placement in children’s TV programmes and content available on video-on-demand platforms. The new rules also see advertising limited to a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting period between 6.00 am and 6.00pm. Between 6pm and midnight, advertising will also be allowed to a maximum of 20% of broadcasting time.

Furthermore, the newly updated laws require that the content broadcasted on video-on-demand platforms’ needs to consist of 30% European content.

The new regulations require the formal approval of the Council of EU Ministers before it can enter into force.  The Member States have 21 months to transpose the new rules into their national legislation.

Francis Zammit Dimech commends the new media law

In a statement the Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech said that the new directive on audio-visual media was an important step in ensuring the protection of minors from harmful content. Zammit Dimech emphasized the importance to support the European film sector saying that films were part of the cultural identity which they want to strengthen. Zammit Dimech also spoke of the importance of media pluralism.