Amendments to the Brussels-Capital Region media law in line with EU Directive for non-linear media players
In accordance with EU Directive 2018/1808, some minor amendments will be made to the Brussels-Capital Region Law on audiovisual media. The EU Directives are mainly intended to create a level playing field for linear and non-linear media in view of consumers' changing viewing habits.
The purpose of the EU Directive is to achieve more effective international regulation of major players such as YouTube and Netflix. The present changes by the Federal Government will only apply to a limited number of media players. The Federal Government is only authorised to act, via the BIPT, in respect of Brussels-based media that are not exclusively Dutch-speaking or French-speaking, such as the sports channel Eleven Sports and Maghreb TV. Other media players fall under the competence of the Communities or are regulated in another EU Member State (e.g. Netflix).
Users of video platforms, especially minors, are increasingly using content on these platforms, either for entertainment or for information purposes. It is therefore important that video platform services are subject to similar rules to those that apply to 'traditional' TV players. These rules cover, for example, commercial communications (advertising), and protection from hate messages or from content that is harmful to minors.
Some of the aspects that are being addressed and amended for non-linear media are the rules concerning product placement, ad banners, and teleshopping that apply to 'traditional' media. Another amendment, to reflect what applies in the Communities, is that the media provider must be independent of political parties or organisations representing employers or employees.
The amended legislative has yet to be reviewed by the Council of State for recommendation and approved by the Chamber before it enters into force.