17th EPRA Meeting in Naples

posted on 10 May, 2003   (public)

The 17th meeting of the EPRA took place in Naples on the 8 and 9 of May 2003

Over a hundred participants from 35 countries attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM). Forty-four regulatory authorities were represented and were joined by the permanent observers from the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

The plenary session was dedicated to two topics. For the first, Roberto Viola, from the Italian AGCOM and Eve Salomon, from the British OFCOM presented their views and experiences in connection with the Practical aspects of a convergent regulatory authority. The second topic dealt with the issue of Self-regulation of TV-content with respect to protection of minors and violence. Emmanuelle Machet, Secretary to the EPRA, presented briefly the regulatory systems in place in France, Germany and the Netherlands with regard to the protection of minors. Sven Egil Omdal, former President of the Norwegian Press Council, reported on the Norwegian system, which is one of the few examples truly based on self-regulation. Both presentations were followed by a lively debate between the participants during which the definitions of regulation, co-regulation and self-regulation, effective redress, the legality of self-regulation with respect to the TVWF Directive and potential areas of application for self-regulation were recurring themes.

Two working groups convened simultaneously during the afternoon of the first day. The working group on Programme performance of public service broadcasting and its mission in the digital era opened with a brief introduction on the subject by Lennart van der Meulen, from the Dutch regulatory authority. Marcel Betzel from the same authority presented a background document focusing on the way countries have defined the remit of their PSB, and specific qualitative and quantitative content programme requirements, on how supervision of requirements is performed and to which extent digital activities of public service broadcasters like Internet and digital (theme) channels are part of the remit. These issues were subject to a lively and fruitful discussion.

The second working group, on Sport, advertising and television, dealt with practical examples of advertising spots from five countries (Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden) during sport programmes. Virtual advertising, banner advertising in the stadium, insertion of logos or 'transparencies', 'mini-spots' were some of the issues addressed by the group. The great discrepancies in the interpretation of the relevant articles of the TVWF Directive by national regulators were remarked upon.

On the second day, following reports from the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and the Council of Europe (Media Division) on their recent activities, members debated on several suggestions dealing with the future format of the EPRA. Concrete proposals with regard to working groups will be tabled by the new Executive Board at the next meeting. Last but not least, the new Executive Board of the EPRA was appointed. Michael O'Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland was elected Chairman for a period of two years. The new Chair will be assisted in his tasks by an extended Executive Board composed of Joan Botella, member of the Catalan CAC, Paola Manacorda, member of the Italian AGCOM, Lennart van der Meulen, member of the Dutch Commissariaat voor de Media and Dunja Mijatovic, Director of Broadcasting Division of the Bosnian CRA.

The next EPRA meeting will take place on 23-24 October 2003 in Nicosia at the invitation of the Cyprus Radio-Television Authority.