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UK Government consults on implementing revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2018, part 1

Posted on 24 June 2019

As we previously reported in November 2018, the European Parliament approved the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) which, amongst other proposals, extends the scope of regulation to cover video-sharing services such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook (the existing rules only cover traditional TV broadcasters and video-on-demand services).

The UK Government has now published a consultation on its proposed approach to implement the revised AVMSD, closing on 22 August 2019.

The consultation invites comments on: a) the approach towards implementing the amended/new provisions brought about by the revised AVMSD; and b) the likely costs and benefits associated with the changes to UK law. It recognises that one of the most complex changes brought about by the revised AVMSD is its extension of scope to cover video-sharing platforms. Many of the measures in the revised AMVSD relating to video-sharing platforms complement the government's proposals set out in the Online Harms White Paper (under consultation until 1 July 2019), which aims to design a comprehensive regulatory framework addressing harms across a broader range of online service providers. The UK Government has reviewed its approach to implementing the video sharing platform measures in the revised AVMSD in light of the work on Online Harms.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) will be holding four stakeholder sessions in June and July 2019 to present the government approach to implementation of the revised AVMSD, and to offer an opportunity to discuss issues before responding to the government consultation. The consultation is important to anyone with an interest in audiovisual media services and video sharing platforms that provide access to audiovisual content in the UK. This may include but is not limited to: production companies, non-governmental organisations with an interest in media services and their audience/users, video-sharing platforms and media services providers.

Member States have until 19 September 2020 to introduce the new rules into national legislation, so of course this may be impacted by Brexit and whether or not there is an implementation period under a Withdrawal Agreement. Further changes to broadcasting legislation arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are not within the remit of the consultation.

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