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Industry declaration on Country of Origin

Media declaration published in advance of first reading vote on AMS/TVWF, 11-14 December

4 December 2023

Download the declaration as a PDF file

Safeguarding the principles of mutual recognition and country of origin is the most effective way of ensuring that consumers are provided with the widest choice of innovative media services by a thriving European media, information, technology and entertainment industries.

The purpose of the 1989 Directive "Television without Frontiers" was to create an Internal Market for television broadcasting through introducing a vital principle: that the country of origin of the broadcaster was the place where media should be regulated, so that programmes could be freely broadcast across borders without reception being blocked within EU countries and that the freedom of speech remained paramount.

The country of origin principle is equally important for all information society services and therefore underpinned the e-Commerce Directive which now provides the legal framework for the freedom to provide all online media services throughout the EU according to one set of rules.

In order to safeguard the freedom to provide media services throughout the European Union, the signatories of this Declaration call on the Council and Members of the European Parliament to:

  • Ensure that Member States do not have new powers to restrict services from service providers established in another Member State which complies with their home country rules. "Audiovisual Media Services" and the programmes and advertising they carry, should be subject only to the law of the EU country where they are established. In exchange Member States have to ensure that the common rules of the Directive applicable for the whole of the EU are respected by those operators established in their countries.
  • Reject all amendments relating to the articles covering jurisdiction. The compatibility of these amendments with the Treaty and European Court of Justice case law is seriously questionable as they would contradict fundamental principles of the Internal Market.
  • Leave the original text of the proposal on jurisdiction from the Commission intact in order to safeguard the integrity of the legislation which already provides for derogations to its country of origin clauses where "manifest", "serious" or "grave" risk to minors or in respect of incitement to hatred is concerned. The e-Commerce directive has similar derogations for the content of on-demand services.
  • Recognise that without this principle of mutual recognition of standards harmonised at EU level based on home country control, media service providers will be subject to content control on the very broad grounds of unpredictable and widely varying "general public interest" from outside their place of establishment.
  • Recognise that, without the COO principle, the provision of cross-border services would be dramatically hampered and EU citizens' freedom to access to programmes originating from other EU countries substantially damaged.

Without a properly functioning internal market in media services, consumers and other users are also discriminated against - unable to benefit from a larger choice of diverse European information and entertainment and of competitively priced and quality media services.


The current TVWF Directive provides for derogations to its country of origin clauses where "manifest", "serious" or "grave" risk to minors or in respect of incitement to hatred is concerned. The e-Commerce directive has similar derogations for the content of on-demand information society services.

The amendments being considered in Council and Parliament would require home country regulators to request broadcasters to comply with any "more detailed or stricter rules of general public interest" adopted by another Member State. In other words, audiovisual media service providers could be requested to comply with other Member States' standards, which go beyond those harmonised by the Directive.

The Commission proposal already allows for a derogation. Art 2.7 enables Member States to prevent abuse or fraudulent conduct by media service providers established in another Member State when directing all or most of their activities to the territory of the receiving Member State.

The Council now wishes to dispense with the "abuse or fraudulent conduct" conditions in order to be able to take measures against broadcasters that, while complying with national requirements established in order to transpose the Directive, are judged to be trying to avoid stricter rules adopted in the country of destination.

Although the name of the Directive has been changed, the very principle idea of creating a "European Audiovisual Media Space without Frontiers" based on internal market principles should be maintained when revising the Directive in order a) to maintain its integrity and b) to justify the introduction of harmonised rules for all audiovisual media content.

An Audiovisual Media Service falls within Article 50 of the Treaty which defines services.

Article 49 states that the freedom to provide cross border services is a "fundamental freedom" which is central to the effective functioning of the EU Internal Market.


Case law on the freedom to provide services is at http://ec.europa.eu.

List of signatories

  • Association of Commercial Television in Europe
    Contact: Ross Biggam (Tel: + 32 2 736 0052)
  • The Advertising Association (UK)
  • Association of European Radios
    Contact: Vincent Sneed, Association Coordinator (Tel: + 32 2 736 9131)
  • Advertising Information Group
  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V.
    Contact: Jürgen R. Thumann, President (Tel: + 49 30 2028 1443)
  • Belgacom
    Contact: Frederic Logghe, Regulatory Affairs (Tel: + 32 2 202 8977)
  • Bertelsmann AG
    Contact: Stephan Schumacher, Vice President Government Relations (Tel: + 32 2 230 4417)
  • British Telecom European Affairs
    Contact: Tilmann Kupfer, Head of EU Public Affairs (Tel: + 32 2 237 1713)
  • Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation & neue Medien e.V.
    Contact: Dr. Volker Kitz LL.M. (NYU) (Tel: + 49 30 2757 6221)
  • Cable Europe
  • Communications Management Association
    Contact: David Harrington (Tel: + 44 7736 099 900 (mob))
  • de Persgroep nv
    (Tel: + 32 2 454 2211)
  • Deutscher Kabelverband e.V.
    Contact: Oliver Linnenborn (Tel: + 49 30 24 63 25 17)
  • European Association of Communications Agencies
    Contact: Dominic Lyle, Director General (Tel: + 32 2 740 0710)
  • European Association of Directory & Database Publishers
    Contact: Lucile Vareine, EU Affairs Office (Tel: + 32 2 646 3060)
  • Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft e.V.
    Contact: (Tel: + 49 221 7000 480)
  • European Telecoms Association
    Contact: Delphine Bernet-Travert, Public Affairs Manager  (Tel: + 32 2 214 2883)
  • European Digital Media Association
    Contact : Luc Delany (Tel: + 32 2 626 1990)
  • Association of Television and Radio Sales Houses
    Contact: Bertrand Cazes, European Affairs & External Relations Advisor (Tel: + 32 2 290 3130)
  • European Digital Industry Association
    Contact: Christopher Gow, (Tel: + 32 2 609 5313)
  • European Newspaper Publishers' Association
    Contact: Valtteri Niiranen, Director (Tel: + 32 2 551 0190)
  • European Publishers Council
    Contact: Angela Mills Wade, Executive Director (Tel: + 44 18 6531 0732)
  • E-Business Regulatory Alliance
    Contact: Will Roebuck, Director Legal Policy (Tel: + 44 20 7905 6281)
  • European Telecommunications Network Operators Association
    Contact: Fiona Taylor, Senior Adviser, Public Affairs (Tel: + 32 2 219 3242)
  • EuroISPA
    Contact: Richard Nash, Secretary General (Tel: + 32 2 503 2265, Fax: +32 2 503 4295)
  • European Federation of Magazine Publishers
    Contact: Max von Abendroth, Director of Communications & Sustainability (Tel: + 32 2 536 0604)
  • Federation of Small Businesses
    Contact: Peter Scargill
  • Gruner & Jahr
    Contact: Dr. Andreas Knaut (Tel: + 49 40 3703 3113)
  • Group PRISA
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau - Europe
    Contact: Erin Lynch, (Tel: + 32 2 231 1299)
  • GSM Europe
    Contact: Eirini Zafeiratou, Director GSME (Tel: + 32 2 706 8106)
  • Impresa
    Contact: Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman and CEO
  • International Communications Round Table
    Contact: Mr John Stephens, ICRT Chairman (Tel: + 32 2 736 5354)
  • Jubii A/S
    Contact: Peter Lundsgaard
  • News International Limited
    Contact: James McManus
  • Modern Times Group
  • Reuters
    Contact: Henry Manisty
  • ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG
    Contact: Els Hendrix, LL.M. European Affairs Manager (Tel: + 49 30 2090 2306)
  • RTL Group
    Contact: Estelle Laval, Head of European Affairs (Tel: + 352 2486 2081)
  • SanomaWSOY Corporation
    Contact: Hannu Syrjanen, CEO (Tel: + 358 10 519 5055)
  • SBS Broadcasting Europe B.V.
    Contact: Erik Moe, Senior VP, General Counsel (Tel: + 31 20 519 1940)
  • Satellite and Cable Broadcasters' Group
    Contact: John Hambley, SCBG Chairman (Tel: + 32 473 46 07 49)
  • Sky
    Contact: Janet Anderson, Corporate Affairs (Tel: + 44 207 782 6164)
  • SIGMA TV/Dias Publishing
    Contact: Andy Hadjicostis, Managing Director (Tel: + 357 22 580 600)
  • Telegraph Media Group
    Contact: Murdoch MacLenna, Chief Executive
  • UNICE - The Voice of Business in Europe
    Contact: Maria Fernanda Fau, Director Communications (Tel: + 32 2 237 6562)
  • Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger
    Contact: Christophe Fiedler, Director European Affaires & Media (Tel: + 49 30 7262 98120)
  • Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH
    Contact: Dr. Stefan von Holtzbrinck, (Tel: + 49 711 2150 211)
    Contact: José María Bergareche, CEO (Tel: + 34 91 743 8104)
  • Verband Privater Rundfunk und Telemedien e. V.
    Contact: Nikolaus Lindner, European Affairs (Tel: + 49 30 398 800)
  • Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft e.V.
    Contact: Manfred Parteina
  • World Federation of Advertisers
    Contact: Stephan Loerke, Managing Director
  • Werbung Marktkommunikation