Media literacy in audiovisual media services

  • News
  • 14/03/2016
  • BIK team

In a converging media world where children and young people have increasing access to digital devices – from videos on demand to connected TVs – media literacy has grown to be an intrinsic requirement for all audiovisual media users.

Acknowledging these dynamics, the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) – which governs EU-wide coordination of national legislation on all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services – has been open for review. More specifically, in order to seek the views of all interested parties on how to make Europe's audiovisual media landscape fit for purpose in the digital age, the European Commission held a public consultation on the AVMSD in 2015.
Earlier, in 2014, the European Commission formally established the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA), with the purpose of bringing together heads or high-level representatives of national independent regulatory bodies in the field of audiovisual services, to advise the Commission in implementing the EU's AVMSD in a converged media age. Currently, the Dutch Media Authority is the ERGA chair, working together with the Chairman of the Croatian regulator and the ERGA Chair of 2014-2015.
At the end of 2015, ERGA adopted a Report on protection of minors in a converged environment, explaining how this should evolve in the future EU legislative framework. The report provides some key recommendations on the future system of protection of minors, as follows:
  • Revising the regulatory distinction made between linear and non-linear content;
  • Further exploring the level protections across linear and non-linear content through a revised (AVMSD) Directive which would recognise the different ways of controlling a minors' access to audiovisual content and the harmfulness of content, as well as by considering setting default restrictions for content that ‘might seriously impair' across all services;
  • Harmonising key definitions and concepts starting with a reference to Article 1 of UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) to define a minor as below the age of 18, and also establishing at EU-level a non-exhaustive list of characteristics for content ‘likely to impair' or that ‘might seriously impair' and explore creating universal content categories';
  • Further research, exploration and collaboration with stakeholders is deemed to be necessary to encourage modern and consistent protection measures and technical controls for parents to protect minors;
  • Encourage effective enforcement, shared responsibilities, self- and co-regulation by maintaining the role of state regulation, supporting effective co-regulation when appropriate, asking for more responsibility from industry, as well as gaining a better understanding of the main players in the value chain (traditional and online) of content distribution;
  • Continue to support media literacy to empower citizens by developing strategies at national level to encourage media literacy promotion and achievements, include education and schools among relevant stakeholders within these strategies and create EU-level action plans to share from best practices to research in this area.
In line with these recommendations, specifically regarding media literacy, the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) in Europe is already playing its part within the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) agenda. As displayed throughout the publicly-available Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, media literacy has been a key focus area for many Safer Internet Centres which have developed at a range of good practices, resources and activities for youngsters, parents and teachers at national level. Furthermore, some of these resources have also received wider recognition of their valuable contribution in this area. Examples include ‘MIL for me' - a Swedish resource on media literacy which won a resource competition held at the Insafe Training Meeting in spring 2015, and the Greek ‘Grocery Store' video which won the best media literacy digital resource in the Miler competition in December 2015 along with other accolades.
More information on the media literacy activities of national Safer Internet Centres can be found on the BIK portal – for example, search the resource gallery by keyword to find relevant resources in addition to those already mentioned above. Alternatively, check the profile page of your local Safer Internet Centre to find out more about their work.
For further reading on the Audiovisual Media Services, see the latest preparatory documents of the AVMSD and find additional background information on the European Commission website.

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