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Editorial independence and more funding for public broadcasters, say MEPs
September 28th, 2010 - 15:02 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Public service TV and radio channels in some EU Member States stand in need of proper financial backing as well as safeguards for their independence, says the European Parliaments Culture Committee in a draft resolution adopted today. These broadcasters also need to boost their presence on the internet to reach out to young people, say MEPs.

Public broadcasters in some Member States are confronted with major problems jeopardising their political independence, their viability and even their financial basis, maintains the Culture Committee. The draft resolution calls on the Member States to end political interference regarding the content of services offered by public broadcasters, saying that some Member States still fail to respect European standards on freedom of expression, media pluralism, and the independence, remit and funding of public service media. It also notes that the transparency of ownership of private broadcasters has to be guaranteed in all Member States, and calls on the Commission to monitor and support progress to this end.

Member States are urged to provide appropriate, proportionate and stable funding for public service media to enable them to fulfil their remit, guarantee their political and economic independence and contribute to an inclusive information and knowledge society. The committee insists that Member States should be held accountable for failing to fulfil these commitments.

Public broadcasters are called upon to offer attractive, quality online content in order to reach young people who access the media almost exclusively via the Internet and preserve a vibrant media landscape in the online environment. Meanwhile Member States should adopt laws on public service broadcasting on the internet, and address the digital divide, for example between urban and rural areas, so that all individuals in all regions have equal access to public service broadcasting.

Lastly, the Commission is asked to adapt copyright to the new digital era, to facilitate the re-use of archive content and to put in place extended collective licence-systems and easy one-stop-shop systems for the clearance of rights. Content aggregators should be made to respect existing laws, and the Commission should consider ways in which search engines and internet service providers could contribute to the financing of content creation.

The draft report was adopted by the committee by 19 votes to 5, with 1 abstention.

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