Public service media (PSM) executives across Europe have adopted a declaration calling EU governments to ‘make history’ by setting out the rules for the future of the open internet. Adopted during the 74th General Assembly of the EBU last week, the net neutrality declaration specifically addresses the EU institutions, which are currently engaged in negotiations on the Single Telecoms Market Regulation.
The declaration states that net neutrality rules are necessary to strengthen freedom of expression in the digital age, to foster knowledge for citizens, to leverage incentives for Europe’s creative industries and to boost innovation.
“PSM organisations in Europe share the view that strong net neutrality rules need to be one of the foundations of the internet of tomorrow,” commented EBU president Jean-Paul Philippot (pictyred). “Without clear and strong rules, access to online-content risks becoming confined to walled gardens rather than widely available in open spaces.”
He added: “These rules are very important for PSM because we want to give citizens easy access to our online content without internet access providers acting as gatekeepers. More broadly, a solid net neutrality framework will provide long-term guarantees for freedom of expression and pluralism, and favour innovation.”
Last year, the European Parliament proposed several improvements to the draft regulation’s provisions on net neutrality. However, EU member state governments have so far struggled to follow suit, unable to reach an agreement with the European Parliament.
For the Telecoms Single Market Regulation to be adopted and enacted at EU level, EU member states (via the Council of Ministers) and the European Parliament would need to agree on the same provisions.
The EBU declaration underlines the urgency of adopting clear and strong net neutrality rules and describes them as ‘the first essential step towards a true digital single market.’
Image: Czech TV/Mikulas Krepelka