Video sharing platforms in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive: the Government consults

July 24, 2019

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2018/1808/EU revised the regulatory framework governing EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media. The government launched a consultation on implementing the newly introduced and amended provisions in the AVMSD on 30 May.

One of the main changes to the AVMSD is the extension of scope to cover video-sharing platforms  for the first time. This extension in scope is likely to capture audiovisual content on social media sites, video-sharing sites, pornography sites and live streaming services. These services are required to take appropriate measures to: protect children from harmful content; protect the general public from illegal content and content that incites violence or hatred, and to respect certain obligations around commercial communications.

The May consultation outlined the government’s intention to implement these requirements through the regulatory framework proposed in the Online Harms White Paper. However, the government also indicated the possibility of an interim approach ahead of the regulatory framework coming into force to ensure that it meets the transposition deadline of 20 September 2020. It now plans to follow through on the interim approach and has written an open letter and issued a consultation to set out its plans and consult on them.

The open letter and consultation sent to stakeholders aims to gather views on the interim approach for implementing requirements relating to video-sharing platforms and appointing Ofcom as the national regulatory authority. In particular, it asks questions regarding:

  • how to transpose the definition of video-sharing platforms into UK law, and which platforms are in the UK’s jurisdiction;
  • the regulatory framework and the regulator’s relationship with industry;
  • the appropriate measures that should be taken by platforms to protect users;
  • the information gathering powers Ofcom should have to oversee video-sharing platforms;
  • the appropriate enforcement and sanctions regime for Ofcom;
  • what form the required out of court redress mechanism should take; and
  • how to fund the extension of Ofcom’s regulatory activities from industry.

The consultation ends on 17 September 2019.