Broadcasting (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 made

February 15, 2019

The Broadcasting (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/224 have been made. The Regulations, except regulation 7, are made under section 8 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The Regulations are also being made under the Communications Act 2003 to give directions to Ofcom for international purposes in respect of broadcasting functions.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media, both traditional television broadcasts and on-demand services. It provides the main framework creating a single market for broadcasting, and setting out standards on a minimum harmonisation basis. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, AVMSD will no longer apply and certain arrangements will no longer exist.

The above deficiencies will be remedied by amending retained EU law relating to broadcasting to ensure that broadcasts available in the UK continue to be regulated effectively and audiences are protected from harmful content. This will be achieved in two ways:

  • First, by moving to a country of destination system of regulation requiring television services available in the UK to be licensed and regulated by Ofcom.
  • Secondly, by implementing the European Convention on Transfrontier Television to continue a system of freedom of reception and transmission, minimum content standards and mutual cooperation between Parties to the Convention. In addition, Irish language services will continue to be received in Northern Ireland to comply with the Good Friday Agreement.

The Regulations make amendments to legislation relating to broadcasting. Schedule 1 amends primary legislation and Schedule 2 amends subordinate legislation.

Regulation 7 contains a direction to the Office of Communications (OFCOM) under section 23 of the Communications Act 2003 in relation to the interpretation of Article 3 of the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television.

An explanatory memorandum has been published alongside the regulations.