AVMS vote is “bad news for broadcasters and viewers”

May 18, 2017

Category:News

An attempt to allow MEPs the opportunity to amend new EU broadcasting rules has been defeated.

ECR MEPs joined several other political groups to try and overrule a decision to send the revised Audio-visual Media Services Directive straight to negotiations with the European Council and Commission without first being debated in the European Parliament.

However, the move was defeated today by 314 votes to 266.

ECR Culture and Education co-ordinator Andrew Lewer MEP said: “We are obviously disappointed that sufficient members did not take the opportunity of today’s vote to open up the possibility to amend what is a confused, and potentially harmful, set of new rules on broadcasting.

“Not only is it bad news for broadcasters and viewers, the decision not to debate this report in parliament prior to ratification by the European Council and Commission flies in the face of transparent decision making.

“ECR MEPs will of course use all available diplomatic channels to try to achieve a sensible result in negotiations with the Council and Commission. However, this will be much harder now that the Parliament position is set in stone.”

The ECR Group opposes proposals in the draft directive to scrap the current limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertising in favour of a daily limit.

Another concern is the Committee’s decision to significantly extend the definition of incitement to hatred to bring it in line with Article 21 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. This goes beyond protecting people on accepted grounds such as disability, sex, race and religion to include a person or groups defined by a “political or any other opinion”.

ECR MEPs believe this wider definition, which also covers online platforms such as YouTube, could give the green light to censorship and stop legitimate issues being discussed.

Mr Lewer concluded: “Despite our best efforts to strike a sensible balance between supporting investment, protecting consumers and safeguarding free speech, we are left with a confused report that misses the mark in key areas, and in some cases may cause greater harm.”