Content (international work)
Our international strategy for content policy aims at ensuring that the interests of UK citizens and consumers are represented in discussions about content regulation at the international level. We achieve this by:
- cultivating constructive relationships with regulators and other stakeholders from around the world, both bilaterally and through the networks of which we are part, and;
- maintaining Ofcom’s strong reputation for evidence-based enforcement and policy-making, and contributing to non-legislative initiatives in support of our policy objectives and best practice in media regulation around the world.
European Platform of Regulatory Authorities
The European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) is a regional network of audiovisual media regulators established to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices between members. EPRA’s members include 47 authorities from all member states of the Council of Europe. We play an active role in EPRA’s programme of work and hosted the network’s plenary session in Edinburgh in 2017.
EPRA produces regular reports and updates on European media policy developments, including comparative studies of regulatory practice among its members. These can be accessed at www.epra.org or you can contact the International team if you are looking for a specific resource.
- For a recent example, please see this Ofcom-authored paper on Achieving greater diversity in broadcasting with a focus on gender, as part of EPRA’s working group.
Before exiting the European Union, Ofcom was an active member of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA). ERGA is an advisory body to the European Commission comprised of the audiovisual regulator responsible for the AVMS Directive, in every Member State of the European Union. It was established primarily to assist in the implementation of the AVMS Directive and to provide expert advice to the Commission on content regulatory issues.
In our time as members we contributed to ERGA working groups on a range of important issues, including media plurality and the protection of minors in a converged media environment. We will continue to cooperate with ERGA as appropriate under the UK’s new relationship with the EU, and to collaborate with European counterparts to exchange best practices for dealing with common challenges.
EU legislation during the transition period
Under the terms of the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement, the UK continued to apply EU laws and regulations during the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020.
A Review of the European Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive accounting for changes in the media landscape was completed on 6 November 2018. As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK Government brought these new and updated rules into law ('transposed' them) on 30 September 2020 – before the end of the transition period. These new rules came into force in the UK on 1 November 2020 as the AVMS Regulations 2020.
- We provide technical advice to the UK Government (DCMS) and worked closely with other national regulators to help ensure a consistent application of the AVMS Directive.
- See Ofcom response to the EC consultation on the review of the AVMS Directive (PDF, 604.0 KB).
- See text of the reviewed AVMS Directive.
- See text of the transposing UK legislation, the AVMS Regulations 2020.
Examples of Ofcom's previous international work include:
- Ofcom’s response to the EC consultation on the independence of audiovisual regulatory bodies (PDF, 484.8 KB).
- Ofcom’s response to the EC colloquium on Media Pluralism and Democracy (PDF, 484.8 KB)
- Ofcom’s response to the EC consultation on platforms and digital intermediaries (PDF, 115.7 KB).
In addition, Ofcom is active in relation to non-legislative initiatives on issues such as online protection of minors and content regulation, media literacy, media pluralism, competition, independent media regulation, media freedom and elections oversight:
- Ofcom was a member of a Council of Europe expert group on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership (MSI-MED) which produced recommendations on this topic in 2018.
- Ofcom regularly participates in debates on the regulation of hate speech and impartiality, as well as on independent regulation, in particular with EU institutions and organisations such as the OSCE (Representative on Freedom of the Media), the Council of Europe, and the Centre for Media Pluralism and Freedom.
- Ofcom has contributed to a number of OECD documents, including ones on Connected TV, Competition in Broadcasting and the Development and Diffusion of Digital Content.
Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing team has produced some FAQs (PDF, 230.9 KB) that might be helpful to broadcasters and video on demand providers who currently provide services to the EU.
Any additional questions should be directed to BrexitBroadcastingEnquiries@ofcom.org.uk