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Along with over sixty audiovisual stakeholders at both the national and pan-European level, the European Producers Club (EPC) has signed an open letter addressed at the European institutions on the negative impact that some aspects of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) could have on European audiovisual policies.


Although the EMFA contains welcome regulations on the protection of media pluralism and independence in Europe, the current proposal also includes a provision which contains significant risks that could gravely harm the promotion of the European audiovisual sector. The language of the relevant provision could be used to reverse the EU’s ambitious cultural policies promoting European Works that are already in place. The Paris-based EPC, which functions as the representative of European independent producers, joins other key stakeholders from the industry in expressing their concern over the current EMFA proposal.


Article 20 of the EMFA, in particular, is of major concern. Its provisions could be used to hinder Member States in the implemention of policies promoting European Works and stimulating and protecting the diversity of their cultural sectors, including in particular those supporting independent producers

Dear Commissioner Breton,

Dear Minister Parisa Liljestrand,

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

The European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) proposed by the European Commission contains welcomed

safeguards for the independent functioning of public service media and duties of media service

providers in the internal market, with the objective to ensure the protection of media pluralism and

independence across the European Union.

With the EMFA, the European Commission issetting out new “requirements for well-functioning media

market measures and procedures”¹  with the objective of tackling obstacles to the functioning of the

internal market for media services² , such as disproportionate and inadequate national regulations

affecting the media and press sectors. These national regulations are considered as “regulatory

burdens” and “obstacles to the exercise of economic activities” in the European media market with the

risk of creating “legal uncertainties” weakening investment in media services³.

We, organisations from the audiovisual and cultural sectors, are concerned that this approach may

weaken and possibly challenge the existence of protective and ambitious cultural policies set out by

Member States to promote European audiovisual creation in all its diversity.

Article 20 in the EMFA proposal states that Member States may not take measures that affect “internal

market for media services” unless they are proportionate and justified. It adds that such measures

should be “reasoned, adequate, transparent, and objective and non-discriminatory”. If adopted, the

broad wording of the Article 20 provision would create significant legal uncertainty at national level:

the implementation of a number of cultural policies stemming from national legislations adopted in

procedural fairness and fully consistent with Article 167 TFEU could potentially be disputed by media

service providers’ unilateral interpretation of their disproportionality or unjustifiability.

A wide range of measures could be called into question, such as regulated window release systems,

known as media chronology and anti-concentration measures. It could also challenge the

implementation measures of the 2018 Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) such as the

minimum proportions of European works in broadcasters’ retransmission time and in on-demand

services catalogues, as well as media services’ obligation to contribute financially to the production of

European works. This could create a chilling effect on Member States’ ability to regulate the promotion

and distribution of European works at a time of sea-change for the audiovisual sector in Europe and


In addition, the proposed Article 20 establishes a new complaint mechanism⁴ for media services

providers to challenge essential measures for the creation, production and distribution of European

audiovisual works and the diversity of cultural expressions solely based on internal market criteria. This

new procedure would be in complete contradiction with Article 167 TFEU and the share of

competences between the European Union and Member States, the long-established European

audiovisual policy, notably AVMSD provisions on the promotion and distribution of European works

and the State aid rules.

While welcoming the European Commission’s will to dispel misunderstandings about the objectives

pursued⁵ , we remain deeply concerned that the regulation would embed national cultural policies into

internal market rules. We believe the proposed Article 20 EMFA as drafted, will be the main tool to

disrupt key policies implemented by Member States to support film and TV creation and local

ecosystems at a critical time for the sustainable future of our sector across the European Union.

Protecting media pluralism and media independence must not, inadvertently or otherwise, lead to

undermining cultural diversity – one of the European Union building block.

We call on the European co-legislators to revise EMFA Article 20 to ensure continued sustainable

conditions for the local audiovisual creation across Europe, which is a cornerstone of well-functioning

democracies and an essential mean to remain united in diversity.


Animation in Europe

CEPI European Audiovisual Production Association

ECSA European Composers and Songwriters Alliance

EPC European Producers Club


1 Title of Section 5 of Chapter III of the proposed regulation:

2 The EMFA Regulation adopts here a new approach regarding the “internal market for media services” which

was not foreseen in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and which anchors the media sector into internal

market rules.

3 Impact assessment report of the EMFA, part 1/3, 16 September 2022, page 7:

4 Through the creation of a new “appellate body” without setting the rules of its functioning.

5 On several occasions, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton denied having any intention to

"interfere with legislation on the protection of cultural diversity" and stated that the EMFA proposal was designed

as an internal market tool “to prevent discriminatory or protectionist measures by Member States that hinder

investment between those same Member States”.

Le Film Français, « Entretien avec Thierry Breton, commissaire européen au Marché intérieur », 20 May 2023, p.

12 :

Hearing at the European Parliament CULT Committee, 24 May 2023:



Euro FIA European Group of the International Federation Of Actors



Europa International

European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity

FERA Federation of European Screen Directors

FIAD International Federation of Film Distributors’ and Publishers’ Associations

FSE Federation of Screenwriters in Europe

SAA Society of Audiovisual Authors

SPIO Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft

UNI MEI UNI - Media, Entertainment and Arts

UNIC International Union of Cinemas

AECine Asociación estatal de cine (Spain)

AIPA, k.o. - Collecting society of authors, performers and producers of audiovisual works (Slovenia)

ANAC Associazione Nazionale Autori Cinematografici (Italy)

AnimFrance (France)

APA Audiovisual Producers Association (Italy)

API Association des producteurs indépendants (France)

APIT Association of Independent Television Producers from Portugal (Portugal)

ARAS Asociace režisérů, scenáristů a dramaturgů (Czech Republic)

ARF/FDS Association Suisse des Réalisateurs-trices et scénaristes (Switzerland)

ARP Société civile des Auteurs Réalisateurs Producteurs (France)

Coalition Française pour la diversité culturelle (France)

Coalition Suisse pour la diversité culturelle (Switzerland)

Coligação Portuguesa para a Diversidade Cultural (Portugal)

DAVP Association of audiovisual producers of Slovenia (Slovenia)

DDG Dutch Directors’ Guild (Netherlands)

DILIA (Czech Republic)

Directors Guild of Latvia (Latvia)

DSR Directors’ Guild of Slovenia (Slovenia)EAAL - Estonian Association of Audiovisual Authors (Estonia)

F&MA Film and Music Austria (Austria)

FilmJUS (Hungary)

FilmTVP Films and TV Producenterna (Sweden)

FPS Filmski Producenti Slovenije (Slovenia)

Greek Directors’ Guild (Greece)

KIPA Polish Producers Alliance (Poland)

KLYS Swedish Joint Committee for Artistic and Literary Professionals (Sweden)

La GARRD Guilde des Auteurs Réalisateurs de Reportages et Documentaires (France)

La SRF La Société des Réalisatrices et Réalisateurs de Films (France)

LaScam* (France, Belgium)

LITA, Society of Authors (Slovakia)

MFPA Macedonian Film Professional Association (North Macedonia)

Norwaco (Norway)


Sabam (Belgium)

SACD (France, Belgium)

SATEV Syndicat des Agences de Presse Audiovisuelles (France)

Scen & Film Swedish Union for Performing Arts and Film (Sweden)

Screen Directors Guild of Ireland (Ireland)

SKKD Slovak Coalition for Cultural Diversity (Slovakia)

SPECT Syndicat des Producteurs et Créateurs de Programmes Audiovisuels (France)

SPI Screen Producers Ireland (Ireland)

SPI Syndicat des Producteurs Indépendants (France)

Suissimage (Switzerland)

UKCCD British Coalition for Cultural Diversity (United Kingdom)

UPC Union des Producteurs de Cinéma (France)

USPA Union Syndicale des Producteurs Audiovisuels (France)

Virke Produsentforeningen (Norway)

VOFTP Vlaamse Onafhankelijke Film and Televisie Producenten (Belgium)

ZAPA (Poland)

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