The Government approved amendments to legislation that transfer provisions of Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Date

2020 11 11

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The Government has approved the draft amendments to the Law on the Provision of Public Information, Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, and Code of Administrative Offenses prepared by the Ministry of Culture.

The amendments prepared by the Ministry of Culture and the working group under it would aid in the adequate transfer of the regulations of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive adopted in late 2018 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union into the national laws of Lithuania. These regulations had to be transferred before 19 September.

The Law on the Provision of Public Information proposes that regulation of a new type of services – services of platforms for sharing video material – should be introduced. After introducing a separate legal regime for the providers of these services, fair competition conditions would be ensured to the providers of audiovisual media services.

In order to ensure appropriate provision of information to people with disabilities about an imminent or ongoing emergency situation, an announced mobilisation, martial law or the state of emergency, it is proposed that the provisions of this law on the announcement of warning messages should be revised. Moreover, it is planned that the providers of audiovisual media services, except for the public broadcaster, should adapt the information to people with disabilities in accordance with the Action Plan for the Improvement of Information Accessibility to People with Disabilities approved by the Ministry of Culture, which will be prepared within the first six months of the next year. The new Requirements for the Adaptation of the Public Broadcaster’s Programmes for People with Visual and Hearing Disabilities came into effect on 1 January of this year.

It is also proposed to introduce legal regulation which establishes the status of the Media Council in order to more effectively formulate state policies concerning public information and coordinate their implementation. Additionally, there are plans to amend the Law on the Provision of Public Information with the right for the Ministry of Culture to establish an advisory institution, the Media Council, which would provide expert opinions and recommendations regarding the key issues of policy-making, coordination, and implementation in the field of public information. The Media Council, established in 2017, functions as an advisory institution of the Ministry of Culture, but the aspects of its establishment, operation, and status have still not been established in the principal legal act which regulates the field of public information, as it is determined in other areas of culture.

The Law on the Provision of Public Information proposes that efficiency of the application of ethical codes in the audiovisual field should be increased by introducing the requirement for the Code on the Ethics of the Provision of Public Information, as well as other codes of ethics (conduct), to be published publicly.

It is proposed that the legal regulation should revise the criteria for the information which is prohibited from being published; in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation’s requirements, the conditions of the processing of natural persons’ personal data in the Information System of the Creators and Disseminators of Public Information should be revised; the requirements for commercial audiovisual communications (advertising, sponsorship, product placement) should be revised; the requirements for the application of technical measures of minors’ protection from harmful information in new platforms should be revised; the instruments for the promotion of measures for educating the public on the ability to utilise the media should be introduced; and the mechanism of sanctions in the audiovisual and other fields of public information should be balanced.