“What are the requirements which apply to the definition of public service broadcasting? Are there specific cultural requirements?”
Ruth Hieronymi MEP at the conference “public service media in the digital age” organized by the French Presidency of the European Union, july 17th, 2008.
1. On the basis of the protocol of the Treaty of Amsterdam, public service broadcasters are obliged to preserve freedom of opinion, variety of information, cultural diversity and social coherence.
2. The mission
to inform, educate and entertain requires a balanced fulfilment of these
three program fields.
3. The introduction
of the digital technologies and particularly the internet dramatically
changed the basic conditions also for the providers of public service
4. Since then the European Parliament has asked for a modernisation of the EU-Television Directive from 1989/97 in order to clarify and define the term "broadcasting" for television in the digital age. On 11/12/2007 the audiovisual media services directive has been passed. This is now the legal basis for linear and non-linear audiovisual services which are under the editorial responsibility of a media service provider and the principal purpose of which is the provision of programmes in order to inform, entertain or educate to the general public by electronic communications networks independent of the transmission technology. Such an audiovisual media service is either a television broadcast or an on-demand audiovisual media service. Due to this updated directive, EU-television law and not only the EU-competition law on electronic commerce applies still for broadcasting in the EU.
5. It is therefore urgent to update the 1999 Council Resolution on public service broadcasting.
Especially important is a decision from the Member States concerning the following questions: