European Parliament IMCO Committee votes for maintaining existing prohibition of TVs broadcasting pornography or gratuitous violence                

Brussels, 8 December 2016

On Monday, 5 December, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) voted an opinion regarding the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which recommends that the existing prohibition of TVs broadcasting pornography or gratuitous violence is maintained.

FAFCE President, Antoine Renard, welcomes this outcome, affirming that “The European Union should not weaken its standards on the protection of minors: on the contrary, the revision of this Directive can be the occasion to strengthen these standards, recognising the negative effects of harmful contents on children, families and society”.

In May 2016, the European Commission issued a proposal (COM(2016) 287) amending the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU), with the aim of adapting it to the new realities of this fast-evolving market.

The Directive currently in place explicitly forbids that television broadcasts include programmes involving pornography or gratuitous violence, in order to protect minors from these harmful contents (article 27). However, the Commission proposal removed this article, weakening the protection of minors. According to this proposal, TVs could broadcast gratuitous violence and pornography, as long as these are subject to measures such as “encryption and effective parental controls”.

FAFCE is concerned that the protection of minors from harmful content is being weakened under the current revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and firmly believes that the existing standards in this regard should be maintained and further extended to encompass also On-demand services. As children are nowadays very comfortable using technologies and considering the multiple platforms through which it is possible to access audiovisual contents at any time and place, the best way to protect them from pornography and gratuitous violence is prohibiting audiovisual media service providers from offering such contents, as it currently happens for TV broadcasters.

The European Parliament is preparing its proposal to amend the Directive, under the responsibility of the Culture and Education Committee (CULT), and various Committees are issuing opinions to inform the final report of the CULT Committee, which will be voted on 28 February 2017. Many Members of the European Parliament, from different political Groups, are aware of the challenges of this procedure and are already working for a better child protection.

FAFCE welcomes the recent vote in the IMCO Committee and hopes that the CULT Committee will go forward in this direction. Antoine Renard says that “We are convinced that it is still possible to go further and extend this recommendation to on-demand services, so that these are also impeded of providing contents that include pornography or gratuitous violence”.

Nicola Speranza, Policy Officer
+32 (0)498 46 02 20