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Strasbourg, 17 November 2005

T-TT(2005)018

 

PDF

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON TRANSFRONTIER TELEVISION

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STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSFRONTIER TELEVISION

(T-TT)

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39th meeting

3-4 October 2005

Human Rights Building, Strasbourg

Room of the Directorate General

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Report

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Items 1 and 2 of the agenda: Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

1. The meeting was opened by the Chairperson of the Standing Committee, Mr Boris BERGANT (Slovenia), who welcomed Delegates and Observer Delegates. The list of participants is set out in Appendix I.

2. The Standing Committee adopted the report of the 38th meeting (see Document T-TT (2005) 002).

The Standing Committee adopted the agenda set out in Document T-TT (2005) OJ2. The agenda as adopted appears in Appendix II to this report.

3. The Secretariat observed that since the terms of office of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Bureau were about to expire, Delegates would have to elect new members at this meeting.

Many Delegates pointed out that they needed more time to prepare for such elections; it was therefore decided that the elections of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the Bureau would be held at the opening of the subsequent meeting and that Mr Bergant would retain the chair in the interim.

Item 3 of the agenda: Signatures and ratifications of the revised Convention

4. The Committee was informed that the Convention had come into force in respect of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 1 May 2005 and of Albania on 1 August 2005, increasing the number of States party to this instrument to 31.

Item 4 of the agenda: Information on the discussions and decisions taken by the CDMC affecting the T-TT

5. The Secretariat informed the Standing Committee that at its previous meeting the CDMC had taken note of the current work of the T-TT and had decided in future to pay particular attention to countries to which the Union Directive was not applicable although they were Parties to the Convention, and also to the issue of extending the geographical scope of the Convention to non-member States of the Council of Europe.

6. The Polish Delegate, who was also the current Chairperson of the CDMC, pointed out that the agenda for the subsequent meeting included an item on the future of the Convention on Transfrontier Television, because the debate on this subject, especially on the question of its added value as compared with the Directive on “Television Without Frontiers” and its scope, was still open.

7. The issue of the accession of Council of Europe non-member States to the Convention was discussed (see also item 10.III).

The Standing Committee decided that this issue should be included on the agenda for the subsequent meeting, and asked the Secretariat to prepare an information document on the extension of Council of Europe treaties or conventions to Council non-member States.

Item 5 of the agenda: Request for interpretation of the Convention by Bosnia-Herzegovina

8. The Delegate of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the request for interpretation of Article 4 of the Convention which her authorities had submitted to the Standing Committee (see document T-TT (2005) 19). She pointed out that Croatian broadcasters had replied to a question put by the regulating authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina that retransmission was not formally covered by any contracts/licences concluded with Bosnia and Herzegovina cable operators.

9. One delegate suggested that the Secretariat should draw up some kind of guide to all existing provisions in this field. The Secretariat said that WIPO was currently considering the copyright issue, but it is so complicated that the work on it was nowhere near completion.

10. A number of delegates pointed out that their authorities had faced the same or similar problems in the past, and that particular attention should be paid to the copyright issue, which was the central problem here. Broadly speaking, the approach had consisted in considering that freedom to retransmit did not exempt broadcasters from the obligation to observe rules on copyright and third party rights.

11. The Standing Committee decided that the request by the Bosnian authorities should be met by adopting a formal opinion at its subsequent meeting. The draft text should be prepared by the Secretariat, and the Committee gratefully accepted the Swiss Delegate’s offer to submit proposals on this issue in order to facilitate the task of the Secretariat.

Item 6 of the agenda: The impact of technological and market changes in the broadcasting sector on the European Convention on Transfrontier Television

(i) Continuation of the review of the provisions of the Convention

a. Questions concerning the right to information and cultural objectives: access to major events, short reports, cultural objectives, media pluralism, right of reply (Articles 8, 9, 9bis, 10 and 10bis)

12. The Delegate of France presented her discussion paper (see Document T-TT (2005) 14), pointing out that the action to be taken on the issues addressed in this paper largely depended on the decisions that would be taken on extending the material scope of the future Convention. She also drew Delegates’ attention to the need to collect information and hold discussions on the application (or non-application) of current provisions of the Convention such as Article 9bis.

13. A brief discussion ensued on the difficulty of drawing up lists of major events and of subsequently ensuring that both the European Union and the Council of Europe accepted these lists.

14. The Chairperson invited Delegates to send their comments to the Secretariat by 20 December. It was agreed that the French Delegate would submit practical proposals for possible review of the articles on the right to information and cultural objectives for the next meeting.

b. Questions concerning advertising, sponsorship and teleshopping

15. The Chairperson observed that a proposal had been made at the previous meeting to set up a select working group responsible for drafting practical proposals for amending the Convention in terms of advertising, sponsorship and teleshopping. He asked which Delegations would like to join this group.

The Delegate of Austria, who had already reported on these issues, recommended ascertaining the European Union’s position before commencing work on amendments to the Convention. He suggested postponing the setting up of this working group to the subsequent meeting.

16. The Committee decided to come back to the question of the working group’s membership at its subsequent meeting.

c. Questions concerning the aim of the Convention, jurisdiction, freedom of reception and retransmission, the commitments of the Parties to the Convention, advertising directed at a single party and allegations of abuse of rights granted under the Convention

17. The Polish Delegate presented the revised version of his document (see Document T-TT (2005) 10). He stressed that the Committee should not passively await the outcome of the process of reviewing the Directive on Transfrontier Television, but should attempt to influence the debate. He drew attention to the proposed amendments set out in paragraph 4, page 9 of his document, and invited Delegates to express their views on outstanding issues, such as the drafting of a provision relaxing the principle of the jurisdiction of the country of origin in cases of abuse of this principle, and the definitions of the expressions used in the Convention (see § 4.2.2 of Document T-TT (2005) 10.

18. A discussion ensued on the working strategy to be adopted in the light of the ongoing process in the European Union, as well as on some of the proposals set out in Document T-TT (2005) 10.

The Polish Delegate pointed out that a consensus had now emerged on the fact that the Convention should remain technologically neutral. The questions that had not yet been settled were the definition of non-linear services and relaxing the principle of the jurisdiction of the country of origin in order to combat the abuse of this principle and to encourage co-operation and information exchange among member States.

One delegation observed that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights could be seen as applying to non-linear services.

19. Following the discussions it was decided that at the subsequent meeting, the Polish Delegate would table a two- to four-page abridged version of his document setting out proposed wordings for provisions of the future Convention.

d. Questions concerning the protection of minors and respect for human dignity

20. The German Delegate presented her discussion paper (see Document T-TT (2005) 13), which she had revised in the light of the remarks made by the Committee at its previous meeting and the written observations which she had received from a number of Delegations.

The Bulgarian Delegate explained that her contribution included some translation (from Bulgarian to English) mistakes at crucial points in the text, and that she would be forwarding a different translation correcting these mistakes in the near future.

21. The Hungarian Delegate said that the provisions on protection of human dignity should set the requisite limits in all the relevant fields, and that great importance should also be attached to public health issues.

A discussion ensued on the issue of protecting minors, especially the use of pictograms suited to the culture of each individual State, and the respective role of media literacy and parents responsibility, where protection of minors was concerned. Following this discussion, one Delegate said that protection was not enough, and that what was needed was a proactive attitude, which should also embrace TV programmes specifically targeting children.

22. The Committee decided to resume discussions at the subsequent meeting on the basis of the German Delegate’s document, which would be revised in the light of the discussions at the present meeting and up-to-date information on recent work in the European Union.

(ii) Information from the Observer Delegate of the European Commission on progress in the work concerning the review of the “Television Without Frontiers” Directive

23. The Observer Delegate of the European Commission outlined the results of the consultations that had been held prior to and during the Liverpool Conference on the following subjects:

- Scope of the Directive: technological neutrality was an important principle to all the parties involved. Some basic regulation should therefore apply to all services having an audiovisual content. However, a horizontal approach can work only if linear and non-linear services are subject to a different type of regulation;

- Advertising:

    - the most hotly debated issue had been whether product placement was a legitimate advertising method;

    - qualitative rules on advertising would remain unchanged, while more flexibility in quantitative rules could be introduced.- Co and self-regulation were considered useful and progress done in that respect in many EU states was noted;

- Protection of minors: these values should remain valid for non-linear services;

- Cultural diversity: there would be no intention to introduce quotas for European works for non-linear services;

- Media pluralism: although this subject was not included in the Directive, it was nevertheless discussed, and the question arose of the European Union’s role in this context. The result of the consultation was that it is the Member States who are responsible for ensuring effective media pluralism. However, the Commission was interested, e.g., in setting up a European observatory on the topic;

- the Observer Delegate of the European Commission said that the right of reply and the right to short reports had been discussed in depth and that a consensus had emerged on the fact that these issues should be further considered.

24. In conclusion, the Observer Delegate of the European Commission stated that the Commission would be working now on a draft to be adopted by the end of the year.

Item 7 of the agenda: Consideration of the Latvian proposal to amend Article 19 of the Convention

25. The Secretariat presented the memorandum which it had prepared at the Standing Committee’s request on the Latvian proposal in the light of the current wording of the Convention (see Document T-TT (2005) 16).

26. All in all, Delegations reiterated their firm support for the Latvian proposal, while specifying the need to clarify the following points:

- it would be useful to introduce a clear mechanism for information exchange which would prevent the transmitting party from shirking its duty to exchange information with the receiving party and would remove, prior to such exchange, the obligation on the receiving party to prove that the programmes broadcast by the transmitting party were aimed at specific audiences in the receiving party’s territory;

- a number of questions were put about the actual wording of this new article or paragraph: should the provision mention “consultation” or “co-operation”, broadcasters “who may transmit” or “who intend to transmit” their programmes for specific audiences in the territory of other Parties, how would this provision define a “specific audience”, and should penalties be laid down for refusal to co-operate?

One Delegate pointed out that the new provision should not necessarily appear as a sub-paragraph of Article 19 § 3 of the Convention.

27. Another Delegate drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that the Latvian proposal could only apply if a licence had been granted, and that it was therefore powerless to settle situations in which broadcasters had not been issued with licences; other Delegates considered that the new provision would also be applicable where only straightforward registration was required.

28. In conclusion, the Standing Committee instructed the Secretariat to prepare, for the subsequent meeting, a proposed wording covering the cases mentioned in the Latvian proposal and taking account of the discussion at the present meeting.

Item 8 of the agenda: Examination of the report on possible measures to implement the Recommendation on the protection of minors from pornographic programmes

29. The Committee took note of the report on measures for implementing the Recommendation on the protection of minors from pornographic programmes.

Delegations which had not yet done so were invited to forward their contributions on this subject so that this issue could be examined at the subsequent meeting.

Item 9 of the agenda: Access by the public to events of major importance: Information on progress in the work on a draft Recommendation on the right to short reporting on major events where exclusive rights have been acquired

30. The Secretariat informed the Committee that although the Ad hoc Working Group on Exclusive Rights and the Right of the Public to Information (MM-WG-EX) had completed its work, it had been unable to produce a final draft recommendation because many of the Delegations had been unable to consult their authorities on various controversial aspects. The CDMC had therefore decided to include the draft Recommendation on the agenda of its second meeting.

Item 10 of the agenda: Other business

(i) Dates of forthcoming meetings

31. Drawing on the proposals from the CDMC Bureau, taking account of all the meetings to be held in 2006, the Standing Committee would shortly be consulted on the dates of the 2006 meetings.

(ii) Timetable for future work

Pro memoria.

(iii) Other questions

Request for an informal discussion with the Ministers' Deputies

32. The Moldovan Delegate asked the Committee to hold an informal discussion on extreme violence in news programmes in Moldova and proposed approaches by the CCA (Co-ordinating Council for the Audiovisual Sector) to settle the problem.

33. The Delegates unanimously declared that a regulating authority could not interfere with the content of news reports, and, on the more general question of protecting minors from violence, referred back to the discussions held under item 6 d) of the agenda.

Accession of new States to the Convention

34. The Chairperson invited Delegates and the Secretariat to consider how new States could be encouraged to accede to the Convention.

35. Several ideas were put forward:

- contacting the Permanent Conference of Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators (COPEAM) in order to explore the possibility of the Secretariat or a Standing Committee Delegate attending a COPEAM meeting, thus providing an opportunity to present the Convention on Transfrontier Television to all participants;

- sending a letter to all Council of Europe member States which had not signed and/or ratified the Convention, inviting them to do so;

- contacting the authorities of countries with cable TV channels to invite them to one or more Standing Committee meeting(s); contacting the regional broadcasters’ unions worldwide.

36. In conclusion, the Chairperson invited the Secretariat to contact the Permanent Conference of Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators and to continue discussions with Council of Europe member States that had not signed and/or ratified the Convention.

* * *

APPENDIX I

List of participants

CONTRACTING PARTIES / PARTIES CONTRACTANTES

Albania/Albanie

Mrs Gentiana MBURIMI, Desk officer of Press and Information Section, Department of Press, Information and Translation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TIRANA

Austria/Autriche

Mr Michael KOGLER, Federal Chancellery, Media Department, Coordination Information Society, WIEN

Bosnia-Herzegovina/Bosnie-Herzégovine

Mrs Gorana IVKOVIC, Electronic Media Lawyer, Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA), SARAJEVO

Bulgaria/Bulgarie

Mme Juliana TONCHEVA, Councillor, Council for Electronic Media, SOFIA

Croatia/Croatie

Ms Mirjana RAKIC, Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Head of current affairs programmes, HRT Croatian Radio and Television, ZAGREB

Cyprus/Chypre

Czech Republic/République Tchèque

Mr Artus REJENT, Lawyer, Media Section, Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, PRAGUE

Estonia/Estonie

Mr Peeter SOOKRUUS, Head of Media and Copyright Department, Ministry of Culture, TALLINN

Finland/Finlande

Mrs Aleksandra PARTANEN, Administrative Officer, Media Policy Unit, Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland, HELSINKI

France

Mme Anne PREDOUR, Chargée de mission au Bureau des affaires juridiques et multilatérales, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Direction de l'Audiovisuel extérieur, PARIS

Mme Séverine FAUTRELLE, Chargée de mission au bureau des affaires européennes et internationales, Direction du Développement des Médias, PARIS

Germany/Allemagne

Ms Stephanie SCHMIEDING, Bavarian State Chancellery, Department Media and Film, MUNICH

Mr Oliver SCHENK, Adviser, Division International Cooperation in Media affairs, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, BONN

Hungary/Hongrie

Dr Borbala FAY, Counsellor, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, BUDAPEST

Dr György OCSKÓ, Head of Department, Presidential Secretariat, National Radio and Television Commission (ORTT), BUDAPEST

Italy/Italie

D.ssa Marina VERNA, Responsabile settore audiovisivo, Ministero delle Comunicazioni, Direzione Generale Concessioni e Autorizzazioni, ROMA

Ms Ivana NASTI, Funzionario del Servizio giuridico, Autorità per le garantie nelle communicazioni, Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM), Centro Direzionale, NAPOLI

Ms Daniela ESPOSITO VEZZOLER, Autorità per le garantie nelle communicazioni, European and International Affairs Office, NAPOLI

Mr Nicola GAVIANO, Head of Legal Service, Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni, Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM), ROMA

Mrs Paola ALLEGRINI, Ministero delle Comunicazioni DGSCER

Latvia/Lettonie

Ms Dace BUCENIECE, Lawyer, National Broadcasting Council of Latvia, RIGA

Liechtenstein
[Apologised/excusé]
Mme Yvonne DIETRICH, Collaboratrice du Gouvernement de la Principauté de Liechtenstein, Regierungsgebäude, VADUZ

Lithuania/Lituanie

Mr Donatas KATKUS, Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania, VILNIUS

Malta/Malte
[Apologised/excusé]
Mr Frank ATTARD, Assistant Director Broadcasting, Office of the Prime Minister, VALLETTA

Moldova

Ms Vera GALCOVSKI, Head of International Relations and European Integrity Department, Council for coordination on the Audiovisual of Moldova, CHISINAU

Norway/Norvège

Mr Olav GUNTVEDT, Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, OSLO

Poland/Pologne

Mr Karol JAKUBOWICZ, Director of the Strategy and Analysis Department, National Broadcasting Council, WARSAW

Portugal

Romania/Roumanie

Ms Elly-Ana TARNACOP-MOGA, Conseillère d’intégration européenne auprès du Secrétaire Général du Ministère de la Culture et des Cultes, BUCAREST

Ms Mihaela BOTNARU, Directrice, Direction de Monitoring Control, Conseil de l’audiovisuel

San Marino/Saint-Marin

Slovak Republic/République Slovaque

Mr Martin DOROCIAK, Legal expert, Office of the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission of the Slovak Republic, BRATISLAVA

Slovenia/Slovénie

Mr Boris BERGANT, Deputy Director General, LJUBLJANA

Spain/Espagne

Mr Francisco Javier BARTOLOMÉ ZOFÍO, Head of Sector, Adjoint Direction General for Audiovisual Media, Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, MADRID

Switzerland/Suisse

Mr Daniel KOEHLER, Media expert, Office of Communication, BIENNE

"The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"/"L'ex-République Yougoslave de Macédoine"

Turkey/Turquie

Ms Nuran YARDIMCI, Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council, ANKARA

Ms Danut DURSUN, Member of the Supreme Council, RTUK, Radio & Television Supreme Council, ANKARA

United Kingdom/Royaume-Uni

Mrs Kate JONES, Deputy Head of International Broadcasting Policy Branch, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, LONDON

Holy See/Saint-Siège

M. Régis DE KALBERMATTEN, Délégué du Saint-Siège au Comité Permanent sur la Télévision Transfrontière, SION

OBSERVER DELEGATES / DELEGUES OBSERVATEURS

Andorra/Andorre

Armenia/Arménie

Azerbaijan/Azerbaidjan

Belarus

Belgium/Belgique

M. Eric FRANSSEN, Attaché, Service Général de l’Audiovisuel et des Multimédias, Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique, BRUXELLES

Denmark/Danemark

Georgia/Géorgie

Greece/Grèce

Mrs Maria GIANNAKAKI, Attaché de Presse, Représentation Permanente de la Grèce auprès du Conseil de l’Europe, Bureau de Presse

Iceland/Islande

Ireland/Irlande

Luxembourg

Mme Isabelle MARINOV, Attachée de Gouvernement, Service des Médias et des Communications, LUXEMBOURG
Monaco

M. Rémi MORTIER, Représentant Permanent Adjoint, Représentation Permanente de la Principauté de Monaco auprès du Conseil de l’Europe, STRASBOURG

Netherlands/Pays-Bas

Russian Federation/Fédération de Russie

Serbia and Montenegro/Serbie Monténégro

Mrs. Snezana PECENCIC, Head of Media Division, The Ministry of Culture Republic of Serbia, BEOGRAD

Sweden/Suède

Ukraine

European Community/Communauté Européenne

Mme Anna HEROLD, Direction Générale de la Société de l'Information et des Médias unité Audiovisual and Media policies, BRUXELLES

SECRETARIAT

Mr Jan MALINOWSKI, Head of Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II / Chef de la Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l'Homme - DG II

Ms Charlotte DE BROUTELLES, Administrator, Media Division, Directorate General of Human Rights - DG II / Administrateur, Division Media, Direction Générale des Droits de l'Homme - DG II

INTERPRETERS/INTERPRETES

Mme Cynera JAFFREY
Mr Didier JUNGLING
Mr Robert SZYMANSKI

* * *

APPENDIX II

Agenda

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Adoption of the agenda

3. Signatures and ratifications of the revised Convention

4. Information on the discussions and decisions taken by the CDMC concerning the T-TT

5. Request for interpretation of the Convention by Bosnia and Herzegovina

6. The impact of technological and market changes in the broadcasting sector on the European Convention on Transfrontier Television

    (i) Continuation of the review of the provisions of the Convention

    a. Questions concerning the right to information and cultural objectives: access to major events, short reports, cultural objectives, media pluralism, right of reply (Articles 8, 9, 9a, 10 and 10a)

    b. Questions concerning advertising, sponsorship and teleshopping

    c. Questions concerning the scope of the Convention, jurisdiction, freedom of reception and retransmission, the duties of the Parties to the Convention, advertising directed at a single Party and the abuse of rights granted by the Convention

    d. Questions concerning the protection of minors and respect for human dignity

    e. New issues to be incorporated to the Convention

    (ii) Information by the Observer Delegate of the European Commission on progress of work concerning the review of the “Television Without Frontiers” Directive

7. Examination of the proposal of Latvia to amend Article 19 of the Convention

8. Examination of the report on possible measures to implement the recommendation on the protection of minors from pornographic programmes

9. Access by the public to events of major importance: Information on progress concerning the work on a draft Recommendation on the right to short reporting on major events where exclusive rights have been acquired

10. Other business

    (i) Dates of forthcoming meetings

    (ii) Planning of future work