Strasbourg: Parliament says yes to negotiation on the Audiovisual Media Service Directive
The Plenary of the European Parliament has approved the CULT Committee decision to enter into negotiations with the Council and the Commission on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive. COMECE welcomes this vote and encourages the EU institutions to prioritise child protection in the forthcoming negotiations.
COMECE considers that the CULT Committee text on which the negotiations will be based could have been more ambitious in regard to child protection. The preservation of a ban on programmes that involve pornography or gratuitous violence; as well as stronger provisions devoted to technical measures (e.g. parental control tools by default) would have guaranteed higher standards of protection for children.
However, the CULT Committee Report still provides useful safeguards in this sense and it confirms the crucial reference to the protection of "moral development" of minors, which, during the relevant discussions, risked to be deleted from the text, having been incorrectly presented as a new change to the Directive.
COMECE deplores this attempt, not only because the formula “moral development of minors” has been a long-standing legal component of the existing Directive in line with binding international standards (European Convention on Transfrontier Television, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU), but also because its removal would have led to depriving children of their fundamental right to be protected from the most harmful content.
The formulation, used internationally to the purposes of child protection and in fighting against pedophilia, does not prejudice the primary educational role of parents towards their children; and it is linked with the Member States' competence to define morality in accordance with their legal traditions.
Within this specific context, COMECE welcomes the outcome of the EP Plenary vote and encourages the EU institutions to prioritise child protection in the forthcoming negotiations.