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25.03.2022

Position paper on the European Media Freedom Act

Enabling Media Plurality measures in conformity with the European single market: A way forward

ZVEI believes in the benefits of a single market for goods for EU businesses and citizens alike. A strong internal market based on the EU fundamental freedoms safeguards innovation and accelerates technological developments. 

It is only right that the European Commission has set itself the goal of preventing further fragmentation of the internal market. However, the transposition of the AVMSD has resulted in a diverse set of rules which require the adaption of the user interfaces of devices, such as Smart TVs, sold throughout the EU for specific national markets. This raises not only the expenses and costs in product development for our members, but also results significantly in hindering the freedom of goods like Smart TVs and other devices as well as services.

Although we understand the intentions, to give prominence to general interest content, in our view the risks of privileging some media content over other outweigh its thought of benefit. Rules on prominence hold a high risk of abuse. Our members want to offer users the opportunity to experience the full diversity of media and opinions, and not become instrumentalized to be the voice of one dominant source.

We are not convinced that intentions to increase media plurality will be achieved by rules of prominence but rather will result in less media plurality. However, Art. 7a of the AVMSD has already given the Member States the opportunity to create rules for prominence. This opens a wide discretion on how prominence concepts and rules may be designed, which has already led to a fragmentation of the internal market. We therefore are in favour of a European solution instead of widely differing national transpositions.

The European Union should put in safeguards in order to prevent restrictions on the EU wide distribution of products and services by defining common red lines for prominence rules and concepts. In order to prevent legal fragmentation, the European Union should harmonize functional prominence requirements for user interfaces and devices so that would allow for one product design for the European single market.

 

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