PositionRules governing broadcasting industry on media buying

Don't expect any action at Community level with regard to media diversity'. Such is the motto adopted by Commissioners Viviane Reding (information society) and Margot Wallstrom (institutional relations and communication).aThe communication adopted on 16 January by the European Commission is, if nothing else, at least clear. It lists all failures since the 1990s and confirms that "there has never been any consensus on the need nor the limits of a possible Community action in this domain".

"It's a very sensitive subject. It's not the first time that the European Commission is tackling this problem," notes Jacques Briquemont, in Brussels to represent the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Back in December 1992, the Commission published a Green Paper recommending Community action in this area. The public debate floundered, however, and took with it all hope of taking the initiative.

But the European Parliament has brought it up again and the Commission started working on the dossier, until the results of the public consultation on Services of General Interest, presented in 2004, discouraged it. "There is broad consensus confirming that there is no need to take specific Community measures to promote media pluralism for the time being, and that it's up to member states to ensure that pluralism is protected," it concluded at the time.

The latest communication maintains that it is "appropriate for the Commission to continue to monitor the situation closely," recalling that a significant number of members of the European Parliament would probably be in favour of introducing action at European level.


So it would seem that the analysis of pluralism in the media needs to be carried out at national level. And the communication continues: "In Europe, the national regulatory models in the various member states differ enormously from each other because of cultural differences, and the differences in the size and characteristics of the media markets," as well as "legal traditions and administrative differences".

Briquemont welcomed the "wisdom" of the two commissioners who "wisely"...

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