Independence of NRAs - New Observatory Study

posted on 18 November, 2019   (public)

IRIS Special emphasises ongoing quest for a ‘culture of independence’

On 10 October 2019, the European Audiovisual Observatory released, with the scientific coordination of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam, an IRIS Special on The independence of media regulatory authorities in Europe.  

Kristina Irion, who was part of the research team for the INDIREG study of 2011 on the independence of regulators is the leading author of this study.



The new 125-page report: 

  • Outlines the concept of independent media regulation and emphasizes the role of independent control of the audiovisual media sector in the healthy functioning of a democratic society (Chapter 1).
  • Highlights the foundations for independent media regulation laid by the Council of Europe: from the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT - 1989) to the standard-setting work including the Recommendation on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities (2000); the Declaration on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities (2008); and the Recommendation on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership (2018). (Chapter 2)
  • Looks at the evolution of EU legislation pertaining to the independence of regulatory entities over the years. While the 2010 version of the AVMSD did not oblige member states to guarantee the independence of regulatory authorities and bodies, Article 30 of the 2018 revised AVMSD introduced a detailed provision requiring member states to designate one or more independent regulatory authorities, while at the same time specifying some of the requirements and substantive safeguards to guarantee their independence. (Chapter 3)
  • Refers to the INDIREG study (“Indicators for independence and efficient functioning of audiovisual media services regulatory bodies”) carried out in 2011 at the request of the European Commission and details the five indicators it uses to measure the independence of regulatory authorities: the status and powers of the authority; its financial autonomy; the autonomy of decision-makers; the adequate provision of professionally qualified human resources; and the accountability and transparency of the NRA. (Chapter 4)
  • Analyses a sample of nine European countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden) looks at the state of independence of their regulatory bodies. (Chapters 5 to 13)
  • Provides a comparative analysis of the standards promoted by the Council of Europe and Article 30 of the new AVMSD. It then compares the main conclusions on the state of independence of the media regulators in the nine European countries, according to the relevant criteria. The authors round up the report by offering individual summaries of the level of independence for each of the nine countries analysed (Chapter 14

Note that the European Audiovisual Observatory has kindly sent a paper copy of the study to the contact person within each EPRA member.

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory