Associação Portuguesa de Consumidores dos Media
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EURALVA is a European Alliance of independent national organisations championing media which serve citizenship. We:


  • advance the right of citizens to receive audiovisual media which serve the public interest;


  • promote the free flow of ideas for everyone, including access to impartial news and information, in order to maximise their democratic, social and cultural potential;


  • support the right of all citizens to express themselves in public dialogue which is respectful of diversity and pluralism;


  • co-operate with civil societies and regulators in Europe and Worldwide;


  • liaise with all responsible media organisations which support the development of informed democracies, and which treat and portray all citizens fairly.


During the last two years, one of EURALVA’s policy has been to assist in the formation of organisations which represent the interests of listeners’ and viewers’ in all EU Member States, especially those in the emerging democracies. To this end, we invited media experts from several emerging democracies in the EU to participate in our 2007 Annual Conference in Copenhagen. In addition, I have been invited, as President of EURALVA, to


  • Participate as a panellist in the conference, which was jointly organised in Budapest by the European Broadcasting Union and Magyar TV, entitled “From Secret Service to Public Service”.


  • Advise the Mirovni Institut (Peace Institute) in Ljubljana, in a research project which was funded by the European Commission, by chairing a series of three linked seminars about the possibility of establishing a listeners’ and viewers’ organisation in Slovenia. A follow-up consultation to review progress will take place early in 2009.


EURALVA has also responded to the following consultations:


  • That by the EU Institutions on the revision of the TWF Directive, now known as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.


  • That by the Commission of the European Unions on the possibility of revising the Commission’s 2001 Communication on the provision of State aid to public service broadcasters, in which we emphasised the need for all public service broadcasters in the European Union to be truly independent of Government, and to fulfil the editorial standards, which were previously agreed, and recommended by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.


  • That by the Commission of the European Union on the Development of Creative Content On-line in the Single European Market, in which we emphasised the contribution that had, and could be made, by Europe’s public service broadcasters.


  • That by the Office of Communications (UK) on Initial Assessments of When to Adopt Self- or Co-regulation, in which we emphasised the need for Ofcom to take account of the distinct needs of non-UK consumers, when considering proposals for self or co-regulation by UK-licensed trans-frontier broadcasters.


At its 2007 Annual Conference, EURALVA established the need to build confidence between citizens and national governments by establishing a “Circle of Trust” between listeners and viewers, and national governments, national regulatory authorities, and public service broadcasters, together with the production companies commissioned by them.


It may also become necessary to seek to establish a similar “circle of trust” between EU citizens and the European Institutions, following, on the one hand, the broadcasting contract signed between the EU Institutions and Euronews, and on the other, the arrangements recently established by the EU Commission between sixteen radio stations from thirteen Member States, including Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, and Netherlands Radio International.


EURALVA also intends to keep track of the manner in which individual Member States implement the provisions of the new EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This will be especially significant, because unlike the previous Television Without Frontiers Directive, which it replaces, the new Directive allows individual Member States are far more flexibility in how they incorporate its provisions into their domestic laws. Potentially, these developments could seriously prejudice, through ignorance or administrative obstacles, the rights of television viewers, and those of users of video-on-demand services, in regard to audiovisual media services whose country of origin is different from their own.


These developments could also introduce serious distortions in the establishment of a Single European Market in Audiovisual Media Services. In particular, EURALVA has noted the flexibility which Member States are allowed in:


  • Defining the range of Video-on-Demand Services which fall within the scope of the AVMS Directive - as opposed to the e-Commerce Directive or Bilateral Treaties with non-EEA Countries.
  • Providing for Co-regulatory, or even Self-Regulatory Arrangements, for both television and video-on-demand services;
  • Permitting the inclusion of, and removing the need to notify viewers about, the inclusion of Product Placement in both television and video-on-demand programmes; and
  • Limiting the exercise of the Right of Reply, and in some Member States the Right of Correction, to the representation in television programmes of individual viewers and their opinions.


The variations in the implementation of these provisions by different Member States may also necessitate a substantial expansion in the development of national syllabuses for media literacy, which are intended to act as an antidote to the unfair and improper exploitation of Europe’s television viewers, and users of video-on-demand services.


Professor Vincent Porter

President of EURALVA