16 October, 2018
On the eve of AVMSD adoption, the need for increased cooperation between AV regulators and enhanced EPRA-ERGA synergy were deemed crucial
18 years after first convening in the Slovak capital, EPRA was back in Bratislava, on 10-12 October 2018, to hold its 48th meeting at the invitation of the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission. The event gathered 142 delegates representing 49 member authorities. As the host of the meeting, Ľuboš Kukliš, happened to be the current Chair of The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services, the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the possibility for enhanced synergy between EPRA and ERGA and, more generally, ways to increase the effective cooperation between audiovisual media regulators on the eve of the adoption of the AVMS Directive.
Photo courtesy CBR ©
Having addressed the "legitimacy crisis" of public service media in spring in Luxembourg, the first Plenary session focused on the regulatory and organisational responses to the political and social pressure faced by PSM.
This was an opportunity for Aurēlija Ieva Druviete, NEPLP (LV); Gerda van Hekesen, CvdM (NL); Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom (UK) and Mari Velsand, NMA (NO) to highlight the regulatory challenges that public broadcasters currently face in their respective countries and to report on how regulation can facilitate PSM through transparency and accountability mechanisms, both in respect of the remit of PSM and in their use of public funding and other economic resources.
As a follow-up to the discussions on social media power and election legitimacy held in spring in Luxembourg, the second Plenary session reported on the progress of various strands of work within ERGA which are seeking to address the topical dilemma raised by political communication and social media from various complementary angles.
A regulatory panel, moderated by Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir (Media Commission, IS) brought EPRA members up to date with the ongoing work of three ERGA Subgroups on internal plurality (presented by Ľuboš Kukliš, CBR - SK), self- and co-regulation (by Oli Bird, Ofcom - UK) and the material scope of the revised AVMSD and enforcement in the online environment (Susanne Lackner, KommAustria).
Frédéric Bokobza (CSA - FR) illustrated the complex regulatory dilemmas at stake by presenting a case study of the proposed legislation to combat ‘fake news’ in France, particularly with regard to the electoral period and of its potential impact on the remit of the French audiovisual regulator.
Three parallel Working Groups allowed regulators to actively exchange experience and best practices:
WG I "Commercial communications 2.0: the respective roles of regulators" shed light on the way NRAs plan to approach the profound changes in this field and explored opportunities for reinforced cooperation between regulatory and self-regulatory bodies. Further to a presentation on the provisions of the revised AVMSD pertaining to audiovisual commercial communications, delivered by Michael Wagner from the German BLM, an interactive dialogue took place between statutory regulators and self-regulators from the UK and Slovakia featuring Oli Bird (Ofcom - UK), Malcolm Phillips (ASA - UK); Martin Dorociak (CBR - SK) and Martyn Željko Sampor (RPR - SK).
WG II on “Achieving greater diversity in broadcasting; the whole picture” looked at practical ways of encouraging better representation of society on the screen. The session opened with a keynote from Deborah Williams, Creative Diversity Network, who shared the results of the “Diamond” (Diversity Analysis Monitoring Data) research and explained how the industry is responding to its findings. Presentations from Marcel Regnotto (OFCOM - CH); Sonia Monjas (CNMC - ES) and Henry Loeser (CMFE) outlined the various facets of addressing diversity from the angles of social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic minorities.
The third WG held a frank and lively discussion on the status of cooperation between media regulatory authorities in the EU and in wider Europe, on the eve of the adoption of the new AVMS Directive, by looking at principles, instruments and future prospects for an efficient collaboration. Participants exchanged recent case studies on formal and informal cooperation between NRAs from EU and non-EU countries. The group also mapped out the role that the existing networks of regulators play, with a particular focus on EPRA and ERGA, and discussed possible interaction and work processes to facilitate cooperation, and to achieve complementary and optimal use of resources. An interactive discussion, using the World Café format, formulated some basic principles that underpin a functioning cooperation.
The EPRA Taskforce for Media Literacy met for the second time. Delegates from 28 EPRA members, all at different stages of developing their own approach to promoting media literacy in line with their own duties and obligations, have had fruitful discussions on several topical issues such as MIL provisions in the revised AVMSD, funding opportunities for MIL projects, VSPs and MIL activities or the ongoing work of the Council of Europe MSI-JOQ. The Taskforce also adopted two new sets of guidelines, for evaluating media literacy projects and on stakeholders' engagement.
The meeting was also attended by permanent observer organisations (Council of Europe, European Audiovisual Observatory, European Commission, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media), as well as guest speakers and external content producers (Mercury Insights, Wagner-Hatfield, Community Media Forum Europe, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, the Advertising Standards Council of the Slovak Republic and Creative Diversity Network) and guest regulators from Morocco and Iran.
EPRA was set up in 1995 in response to the need for increased cooperation between European audiovisual regulators. With more than 20 years of experience and a robust network of working-level contacts, EPRA is the oldest and largest network of broadcasting regulators and is an ideal setting for the exchange of information, cases and best practices between broadcasting regulators in Europe. It explores innovative means of regulating and analysing the audiovisual sector and sharing that with a wider audience of stakeholders.
The next EPRA meeting will take place in Sarajevo, on 29-31 May 2019 at the invitation of the Communication Regulatory Agency (CRA).
Source: EPRA Secretariat