This week, the European Commission (EC) adopted an action plan to ensure the recovery and transformation of the media and audiovisual sector, said Kristene Liepis, a representative of the EC Delegation in Latvia.
According to the EC, the new coronavirus crisis in the sector has hit it particularly hard and is essential to democracy, European cultural diversity and digital autonomy.
Communication focuses on three areas for action and ten specific activities that will help the media industry recover from the crisis by facilitating and expanding access to finance, reshaping it, stimulating investment in the digital and green transition, and ensuring continued sustainability. of the sector. strengthening European citizens and business activities.
The EC noted that under the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism, at least 20% of the costs in any national plan for economic recovery and sustainability will be allocated to the digital sector. Measures to promote the production and distribution of digital content, such as digital media, will also be an investment in this goal.
The objectives of the Action Plan are several, such as facilitating access to European Union support through a specific tool for media companies to find all relevant EU funding opportunities. Provides guidance on how to apply for substantial EU support under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, but also on national renewal and sustainability plans.
It is planned to increase investments in the audiovisual sector through a new platform “Media Invest”, which aims to attract investments of 400 million euros over a period of seven years. It is also planned to launch the News initiative to combine activities and support for the news media industry. This initiative includes a pilot project for investments in Novosti with foundations and other private partners, access to loans supported by the InvestEU guarantee, grants and the European Media Forum with industry. It is planned to pay special attention to the local media.
The EC stressed that the Action Plan aims to support the green and digital transformation of the industry, such as promoting a European data space for data exchange and innovation, promoting a European virtual and augmented reality industry coalition to help EU media to benefit from these outstanding technologies and laboratory for dealing with new narrative and interactive projects. It is also planned to promote negotiations on how to make the industry neutral in climate by 2050 and to develop appropriate activities.
The EC stressed that the Action Plan provides more opportunities and empowerment for Europeans and that citizens and businesses are at the heart of its core efforts. Actions in this direction may include engaging in dialogue with the audiovisual industry to improve access to and availability of audiovisual content across the EU, to help the industry expand and reach new audiences and consumers to enjoy a wide range of contents.
It is planned to support European media talents, both in front of and behind the camera, to promote diversity, identify and support start-up companies. Citizens can also be empowered, including by strengthening media literacy and supporting the development of independent alternative news aggregates. It also aims to encourage regulatory cooperation within the European Audiovisual Media Services Regulatory Group (ERGA) to ensure the proper functioning of the EU media market.
According to the EC, this action plan and media and audiovisual character is closely linked to the European Action Plan for Democracy, which aims to strengthen media freedom and pluralism across Europe, with a strong focus on protecting journalists. This action plan is fully in line with the forthcoming EC proposals for the Digital Services Law and the Digital Markets Law, which will aim to modernize the EU digital services regulatory framework.
Regarding the next steps, the EC pointed out that since the EU media industry should act soon, most activities on the action plan will be implemented in the first months of 2021. Optimal stakeholders should be consulted for optimal effective implementation.