Feeds

Europe to probe state funding of new media

Keeping skewed markets on an even keel

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The European Commission will investigate public service broadcasting's use of new media to determine whether state aid to broadcasters is unfair to commercial competitors.

The commission has said it will look into a 2001 set of rules on what subsidies countries are allowed to give to public sector broadcasters. It said an update was needed because new media and digital technologies had changed the media landscape so much.

The commission said it would re-examine the rules in the light of its duty to preserve fair competition. "This implies in particular the need for a clearly defined public service mission as well as a limitation of state aid to what is necessary for the fulfilment of this mission, excluding overcompensation and possible cross-subsidies into commercial activities," a commission statement said.

"[The process] offers the opportunity to evaluate the extent to which developments that have occurred since the adoption of the 2001 Broadcasting Communication require further clarification or changes to the existing rules.

"In particular [it will look at] the implications for public service broadcasting of market developments in the delivery of audiovisual content and the emergence of new media services requires broad discussions with Member States and stakeholders."

State aid to all industries is limited by the commission in an attempt to foster free market competition both within and between nations. Countries can fund public service broadcasting, but commission rules are designed to stop that process skewing the market for commercial broadcasters.

A commission discussion paper said that one of the main changes that new rules would have to consider would be the new Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. That law was passed last month, though EU member states have until 19 December 2009 to implement its provisions into their national laws.

The directive extends control of the broadcasting industry into some internet services.

"The commission's overall objective is to design an appropriate legal framework for the future financing of public service broadcasting in a new media environment," the commission paper said. "This should take into account the importance of public service broadcasting and the necessity for public support on the one hand and possible adverse effects on competition on the other.

"The rules should strike a balance between the necessity to have sufficiently clear and precise requirements at EU level and the freedom of Member States to design their system of public service broadcasting according to their legal traditions."

The consultation process ends in March, and the commission said if it needed to issue a new set of rules, a proposed set would be published later this year.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.