As guardian of the Treaty, the Commission ensures that the provisions of the Directive are properly implemented by the Member States and complied with by audiovisual media service providers established in the EU.
In general, the Commission endeavours to discuss issues of interpretation and application of the rules of the Directive with the Member States and their regulatory authorities, notably at the Contact Committee and Regulators' meetings organized in Brussels. The Commission also continuously provides for relevant information and indicators as part of its reporting obligations under the 2002 Communication on improving the application of the monitoring of EU law.
Sometimes the Commission is required to take legal action, known as infringement proceedings against a particular Member State in case of violations of the Directive. The Commission may learn about infringements through complaints by citizens, parliamentary questions or following a monitoring excercise carried out by an independent consultant on the rules on audiovisual commercial communications.
The following press releases are examples of infringements pursued by the Commission in recent years:
- Commission welcomes implementation of EU rules on TV and video-on-demand by Austria; closes infringement case (28/10/2010)
- Commission welcomes French regulator's moves against incitement to hatred; ends legal action (28/10/2010)
- Commission ends legal action after Italy and Estonia comply with EU advertising rules (08/10/2009)
- EU rules on TV advertising need to be closely monitored, says Commission report (26/06/2009)
- "Television without Frontiers": Commission warns Estonia to apply the EU's TV advertising rules (19/03/2009)
- Commission takes court action to prevent excessive spot-advertising on Spanish TV (27/11/2008)
- Television without frontiers: the European Commission takes the next step in proceedings against Spain for not complying with television advertising restrictions (06/05/2008)
- Television without frontiers: Commission issues warning to Spain for not complying with television advertising rules (10/07/2007)
Comments and requests for information
Before launching infringement procedures, the Commission contacts the Member States' national authorities to request additional information or to inform them of potential issues in relation to the transposition or the implementation of the Directive in their national legislation.
The following press releases are illustrative of such contacts:
- Commission seeks information from four Member States on their implementation of Audiovisual Media Services Directive (23/07/12)
- Commission requests Belgium and UK to implement Audiovisual Media Services Directive in Brussels and Gibraltar (29/09/2011)
- Commission seeks information from eight Member States on implementation of Audiovisual Media Services Directive (01/09/2011)
- Commission concerns on aspects of Belgian regulators' proposal to regulate broadcasting and (to a lesser extent) broadband markets (21/06/2011)
- Commission seeks information from 16 Member States on their implementation of Audiovisual Media Services Directive (29/03/2011)
- Media: Commission Vice-President Kroes welcomes amendments to Hungarian Media Law Reference (16/02/2011)
- Audiovisual Media Services Directive: Commission requests 12 Member States to implement in full (24/06/2010)
- Illustrative examples of the EU Court of Justice case law in the broadcasting sector can be found here