On 16 September 2022, the European Commission published its Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common framework for media services in the internal market ("EU Media Freedom Act") and amending Directive 2010/13/EU (the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive), and the Commission's non-binding recommendation on internal safeguards for editorial independence and ownership transparency in the media sector ("Recommendation").

The EU Media Freedom Act sets new rules to protect the media pluralism and media independence in the European information space through EU-wide minimum standards including, non-exhaustively, rights for both recipients of media services and media providers, and duties of media service providers, protection of editorial independence transparent state advertising, protection of media content online, and the framework for regulatory cooperation and enforcement in the media internal market. From the ashes of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media (ERGA), the Proposal sets up a new independent European Board for Media Services comprising national media authorities, giving this Board new administrative and regulatory tasks and powers affecting the internal media market.

The proposal is accompanied by a non-binding Recommendation for the media companies, a toolbox of voluntary measures to promote editorial independence and greater ownership transparency.

Building up on the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive of 2010, the proposal is consistent and complements the Digital Single Act and the Digital Market Act, such as EU competition rules too. EU competition law does not directly address the impacts that market concentrations could have on media pluralism or independence.

The next steps

The Proposal and Recommendation are currently being discussed jointly by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament in a first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure. Once adopted, the EU Media Freedom Act will be directly applicable across the European Union. The Recommendation will remain applicable on a voluntary basis.

For more information on this proposal, please read here.

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