Conservatives secure key changes to digital broadcast reforms

21-Nov-2017 @ 16:00

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Conservatives secure key changes to digital broadcast reforms

Conservative MEPs have backed moves to make news and current affairs programming more widely available across the EU.

The draft legislation approved today by the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee would mean broadcasters could not stop viewers in one country from watching such programmes in another, so called "geoblocking".

However, damaging proposals to extend the move to other copyrighted content such as entertainment programmes, which would have undermined the business case underpinning popular TV productions, were defeated with Conservative support.

Conservative Legal Affairs spokesman Sajjad Karim MEP described the committee's decision as "an excellent outcome".

He said: "Freeing up news and current affairs content is particularly important to linguistic minorities who wish to keep up to date with events in their own language.

"But attempts to widen the scope of the legislation would have been immensely damaging to both the industry and viewers, making the continued production of many existing programmes unaffordable.

"Production companies often rely on sales to individual countries to finance programmes, while co-financers may only become involved on condition they gain exclusive national rights. At a stroke the rules originally proposed by the Socialists and Greens would have wiped out this business model.

"I am delighted we helped persuade the committee to think again."

The draft legislation will now be considered by a full session of the European Parliament.

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