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EPC media alerts: September 2007

Your monthly EU media issues update direct from Europe's leading publishers

Press freedom

Dates for the diary

25th September - EP Plenary Vote on Digital Libraries
10th October - EP First Reading, ROME I
17th October - Alcohol Forum meeting, Brussels
25th October - Press freedom charter meeting, Brussels
End October - Commission Proposal on the Revision of Telecom Package
November - Commission to publish Content Online proposal
13th November - EP First Reading, Car advertising and CO2 emissions
28th November - Rome I at EP
29th November - Final ACAP conference, New York
December - ECOFIN debate on VAT
6th December - Publishers' Forum, Brussels
6th December - Political Agreement in Common Position expected on Rome I
 

 

Key issues for Autumn 2007

Alcohol forum

This is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing together civil society and businesses pledging to take action to reduce alcohol related harm in Europe. Activities are planned for this and next year with the next meeting scheduled for 17 October 2023 in Brussels.

Press freedom

Sporting events

Unreasonable conditions imposed by the International Rugby Board have led an alliance of publishers, news agencies and journalists organisations to write to the world cup sponsors.

Press freedom charter

Meanwhile Commissioner Reding is backing an initiative to draw up a new press freedom charter, to be drafted jointly by publisher and journalist representatives. The next meeting between publishers and journalists is scheduled for 25 October . There is as yet no date for publication.

Implications of Internet regulation on media freedom in the OSCE region are the focus of a report presented by Miklós Haraszti, the Organization's Representative on Freedom of the Media, in Vienna today. The publication offers case studies from different parts of the OSCE region on how governments, civil society and the telecommunications industry can co-operate in their approaches to Internet governance.

http://www.osce.org/item/25756.html

Content online

The Communication on Content Online is scheduled for November 2007. This will be a first step towards exploring added-value actions that could be taken at European level to improve the competitiveness of the European online content production and distribution industry.

Mobile TV

The Communication on mobile TV has been published and should reach the Parliament and Council over the next few months for the co-decision procedure to start.

In March 2006 the Commission encouraged setting up a European Mobile Broadcasting Council (EMBC) to promote mobile TV in Europe. It gathered players from the telecommunications, hardware manufacturers and the software, broadcasting and content industries. However, EMBC failed to agree on industry led-solutions. This is why the Commission has now decided to intervene, and to actively support the take-up of mobile TV in Europe. For further information:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=3535

In addition, the Commission published proposals for allocation of radio spectrum for mobile satellite services:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemlongdetail.cfm?item_id=3554

Rome I

The Parliament's First Reading of ROME I is expected on 10/10/2007. It is expected that the Council will reach its Common position on 6/12/07.

ROME I is the proposal that aims to convert the Rome Convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations into a Community Regulation and to modernise some of its rules.

For more background, go to: http://www.dianawallismep.org.uk/pages/Rome1.html.

Car advertising

EP Rapporteur Chris Davies will put his own initiative report on the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles - including restrictions on advertising, for adoption in committee on 12 September.

The First Reading is expected on 13 November.

Digital libraries

The vote in Plenary will be on 25th September (or in October) 2007. The High Level group will next meet on 27th November 2007.

Access to Europe's cultural heritage should be made much easier though the creation of the European digital library, the Committee on Culture and Education says in a report adopted on 17 July. It is backing a Commission plan to set up a European digital library as a direct access point to the European cultural heritage and stresses the importance of multilingual access to the databases.

Public service broadcasters

The Commission intends to produce a paper in the second part of 2007 on state aid to public service broadcasters in which they seek to examine the scope of the definition of psb which will include new media and on demand services. In the first quarter 2008 the Commission will publish a draft as a Communication, to which everybody can contribute. The text will be adopted in the late 2008 beginning 2009.

Copyright

The Commission is currently working on the evaluation report of the Directive. The report will be ready probably by end of this year or early in 2008.It is thought unlikely that the EC will propose a revision of the Directive.

VAT

The European Commission published in the first week of July the "Copenhagen Study", on VAT rates in the EU together with a Commission Communication. The Commission's intention is to have flexibility and launch a debate about the issue. Later on it intends to launch clearer ideas depending on what the MS agree upon.

Regarding the categories outlined in the Communication, the Commission said that they are based on reality but input is welcomed as in all issues and maybe this results in having more categories.

According to the Commission it needs to be discussed whether VAT is the best way to promote the press, this is why it is willing to consider subsidies or other incentives.

The debate will be highly political on every rate and on print and online media. The Commission will possibly want to exclude derogations.

In the December ECOFIN meeting the issue will be discussed and until Spring the MS views will be clearer. The Commission will be in position to make more concrete proposals in the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009. This may lead to adoption before 2010.

ACAP

Google redirects wire search traffic as ACAP prepares to unveil new technology to protect content providers

ACAP is preparing its final conference in November to be held in New York where the results of the 12 month pilot project will be unveiled to show new technology that will facilitate the commercial relationship between search engines and publishers and other content providers. ACAP is an open standard which will render unnecessary the many individual agreements being made between content providers and search engines similar to those negotiated recently between Google and some newswires whereby publishers would undoubtedly lose traffic. For more information, go to www.the-acap.org.

For more information please contact:
For more information, please contact Angela Mills Wade , EPC Executive Director on Tel: +44 1865 310 732 or Heidi Lambert on Tel: +44 1245 476 265 or visit www.epceurope.org.