TELEVISION WITHOUT FRONTIERS DIRECTIVE : EP BROADLY BACKS COUNCIL ON SHORT SPORTS CLIPS DOSSIER.

Voting in first reading, MEPs have broadly backed the Council's informal position obliging broadcasters to allow other broadcasters throughout the EU to show short news reports of major events, including sports events, in news programmes. The short news reports reference appears in the European Commission's proposed revision of the TV Without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive.

According to the European Parliament's rapporteur on TVWF, Ruth Hieronymi (EPP-ED, Germany), the final decision on the dossier as a whole can be expected in late 2009 or early 2010, after which time EU member states will have two years to transpose the directive into their national legislations. She told Europolitics that the directive will cover all sports events where there are exclusive rights and will refer to scheduled broadcast programmes (not so-called on demand' media services) produced by media services with editorial responsibility.

A key issue is what sort of access sports event rights holders will allow broadcasters to short extracts. The media rights business is, after all, a highly lucrative business that is commanding ever higher sums of money. Some broadcasters may wish to be present at the event to select exactly the material that they want rather than relying on what they are given via a signal. Hieronymi says that the Parliament is pushing for access to the broadcaster's signal but that access to the venue of the events is up to member states to decide.

The Commission proposed that those exercising exclusive rights concerning an event of public interest should grant...

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