Europe’s spectrum debate needs to respect media pluralism

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Senior representatives from broadcasting, network infrastructure, trade unions and professional organisations call on EU decision-makers to shape an ambitious industrial strategy for Europe’s creative and cultural industries. Europe’s unique radio and audiovisual model is a huge asset for Europe’s competitive position in the digital world, cultural diversity and media pluralism.

Meeting in the European Parliament today[1], senior representatives of AER, APWPT, BNE, EBU, EFJ and UNI MEI[2] called for an industrial strategy for creative and cultural industries based on growth, innovation and jobs.

Speaking at the meeting, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has called on EU policy-makers to take a holistic approach in spectrum allocation in order to sustain a diverse and inclusive media landscape in Europe and the wide access of quality content for European citizens.

The group urged European policy-makers to adopt a clear vision, strategy and commitments. In doing so, they remind EU policy-makers that the sector is a leader in terms of GDP and jobs as well as Europe’s greatest competitive asset in the global digital race.

The group called on policy-makers to embrace the specificities of the sector as a growth enabler and as a key component of European construction, particularly by putting forward policies that:

  • Acknowledge the business, investment and funding models to ensure sustainable levels of efforts and investments by enterprises and workers in production, infrastructure and innovation;
  • Uphold the importance of local / national works as supporting employment, diversity and plurality;
  • Enshrine guaranteed access to critical resources such as spectrum for services that sustain Europe’s creative and cultural industry.

On spectrum, acknowledging the wisdom of the Lamy report, the group called for a comprehensive political approach that recognises the role of free-to-air radio, PMSE[3] and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT – where the signal is received through a TV aerial) and respects Europe’s ability to continue to create world class content. DTT and radio remain the preferred means by which EU citizens access works and in so doing sustains and finances Europe’s rich cultural diversity and media plurality.

In light of this, the group called on European policy-makers to make every effort in 2015 to:

  1. Position creative and cultural industries at the heart of Europe’s Digital Single Market strategy
  2. Guide new and sustain existing investments to increase certainty for employers, employees and the public alike as well as to maintain innovation; because a strong democracy requires quality, plural and diverse content
  3. Take decisions on critical resources such as spectrum allocation on the basis of a comprehensive examination of the impact on cultural and creative sector growth and jobs, particularly in forming common positions for EU and global negotiations at the WRC and RSPP

(Photo credit: AFP / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)

[1] “The wider spectrum: Frequencies as a pillar of Europe’s industrial audiovisual strategy for the cultural and creative sector” – European Parliament, 28 January 2015
[2] Association of European Radios; The Association of Professional Wireless Production Technologies ; Broadcast Networks Europe ; European Broadcasting Union ; European Federation of Journalists ; UNI Global Union Media Entertainment International
[3] Programme Making and Special Event
About the signatories:
European Federation of Journalists: The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320.000 journalists in 60 journalists’ organisations across 39 countries. The EFJ was created in 1994 with the aim to fights for social and professional rights of journalists working in all sectors of the media across Europe through strong trade unions and associations. www.europeanjournalists.org
Association of European Radios: The Association of European Radios (AER) is a Europe-wide trade body representing the interests of over 4,500 private/commercial radio stations across the EU27 and in Switzerland. AER's main objective is to develop and improve the most suitable framework for private commercial radio activity. AER constantly follows EU actions in the fields of media, telecommunications and private radio transmission, in order to contribute, to enrich and develop the radio sector. www.aereurope.org
Association of Professional Wireless Production Technologies: The APWPT promotes, on an international level, the efficient and demand-driven provision and use of production frequencies for professional event productions, as well as safeguarding such production frequencies for professional users, in the longer term. www.apwpt.org
Broadcast Networks Europe: BNE is a trade organisation for Terrestrial Broadcast Network Operators for Radio and TV in Europe based in Brussels. BNE’s 16 members operate in 21 European countries. Members are Abertis (Spain), Arqiva (UK), České Radiokomunikace (Czech Republic), Digea (Greece), Digita (Finland), ETV (Serbia), Elettronica Industriale (Italy), Norkring (Norway), OiV (Croatia), ORS (Austria), Swisscom Broadcast (Switzerland), Radiocom (Romania), Rai Way (Italy), RTENL (Ireland), TDF (France) and Teracom (Sweden). In addition Terrestrial Network Operators in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, and Monaco are represented by their respective parent (and BNE member) company. www.broadcast-networks.eu
European Broadcasting Union: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s foremost alliance of Public Service Media, providing television, radio and online services. The EBU has 73 active members in 56 countries in Europe and beyond. The organisation provides technical expertise in order to drive media innovation and coproduction across every entertainment genre and advocate the values of Public Service Media organisations. www.ebu.ch
UNI MEI: UNI MEI represents 170 national unions & guilds affiliating more than 375 000 creators, technicians and other workers in the media, entertainment and arts worldwide. Media and entertainment workers and their trade unions affiliated to UNI MEI believe that the European Union needs to strengthen its commitment to social inclusiveness and cultural diversity. European citizens need a European Union with a progressive policy blue print that invests in people, ensures solidarity, respects and cherishes their cultures and puts quality employment at the heart of a sustainable growth agenda. http://www.uniglobalunion.org/
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