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Article Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on Audiovisual Media Services

On April 28, 2024, Legislative Decree No. 50 of March 25, 2024 (L.D. No. 50), implementing European Union (EU) legislation on audiovisual media services, entered into effect in Italy.

L.D. No. 50 implements EU Directive 2018/1808 on audiovisual media services, which amended a 2010 directive on this topic, Directive 2010/13/EU. The following summarizes some of the important provisions of L.D. No. 50.

Scope of the New Provisions

The new provisions apply to: (a) audiovisual and radio media services and data programs; (b) associated interactive services on platforms, including those for sharing videos or audio-only content (art. 1(1)(a)(2), substituting paragraph 1(b) of article 1 of Legislative Decree No. 208 of November 8, 2021 (L.D. No. 208)); and (c) not-for-profit providers of community radio media services. (Art. 1(3)(13), adding section ii-bis to paragraph 1(ii) of article 3 of L.D. No. 208.)

Principles Governing Audiovisual Media and Radio Services

Per the new legislation, audiovisual media and radio services must guarantee the following to users: (a) freedom and pluralism in radio and television broadcasting; (b) freedom of expression, including freedom of opinion and the freedom to receive and communicate information or ideas, while respecting human dignity, non-discrimination, and excluding racist speech; (c) objectivity, completeness, loyalty and impartiality of information; (d) countering disinformation strategies; (e) protection of copyright and intellectual property rights; (f) openness to different political, social, cultural and religious opinions and tendencies; (g) the safeguarding of ethnic diversity and the protection of the cultural, artistic and environmental heritage; and (h) without prejudice to the provisions of subparagraph (b), a contrast to the contemporary tendency to harm the elements or symbols of the nation’s history and tradition (“cancel culture”). (Art. 1(4)(a), replacing paragraph 1 of article 4 of L.D. No. 208.)

Promotion of Media and Digital Literacy

Governmental authorities must promote media and digital literacy through providers of media services, sharing video or audio platforms. (Art. 1(4)(b), replacing paragraph 3 of article 4 of L.D. No. 208.)

Incitement to Hate Crimes or Terrorism Prohibited

Programs by providers of audiovisual or radio media services subject to Italian jurisdiction must not include incitement to commit crimes or apologia for them, particularly to hate crimes or terrorist offenses.  (Art. 1(20), substituting paragraph 1 of article 30 of L.D. No. 208.)

Citizens’ Right to Correction

Any person whose honor and reputation have been damaged by an untrue factual statement contained in a television or radio program has the right to ask the service provider to broadcast a corrective statement, without prejudice to the potential criminal penalties involved. (Art. 1(23), substituting paragraph 2 of article 35 of L.D. No. 208.)

Protection of Minors

Audiovisual media and radio services must promote and protect minors’ well-being, health, and physical, mental and moral development (art. 1(4)(a), replacing paragraph 1 of article 4 of L.D. No. 208), in particular regarding advertising messages and other forms of commercial communication. (Art. 1(25)(d), substituting paragraph 7 of article 37 of L.D. No. 208.)

An interinstitutional consultative committee is established to promote research on media and digital literacy and provide its opinion on proposed codes of conduct for media service providers concerning the protection of minors. (Art. 1(7), substituting article 8 of L.D. No. 208.)

Video sharing platform providers must set up systems to verify, in accordance with personal data protection legislation, the age of users regarding content that may harm minors’ physical, mental, or moral development. (Art. 1(30), substituting article 42(7)(f) of L.D. No. 208.) Such platforms must also provide parental control systems for content that may harm minors. (Art. 1(30), substituting article 42(7)(h) of L.D. No. 208.)

Codes of conduct applicable to providers of video sharing platforms must identify measures to reduce the exposure of children under 12 to commercial communications relating to food or drinks containing ingredients with a negative nutritional or physiological effect, such as fats, trans fatty acids, sugars, and salt. (Art. 1(30), substituting article 42(4) of L.D. No. 208.)

Italian Jurisdiction over Video-Sharing Platform Service Providers

Video-sharing platform service providers established in the national territory are subject to Italian jurisdiction. (Art. 1(29), substituting article 41(1) of L.D. No. 208.) Those not established on Italian territory will be subject to Italian jurisdiction if their controlling company is established on Italian territory or is part of a group of which another company is established on Italian territory. (Art. 1(29), substituting article 41(2) of L.D. No. 208.) When there are several companies controlled by a company each of which is established in a different EU member state, the video sharing platform provider will be subject to Italian jurisdiction if one of the controlled companies first started its business in Italy and maintains a stable connection with the Italian economy. (Art. 1(29), substituting article 41(5) of L.D. No. 208.)

Minimum Italian Content Requirements

Concessionaires of public radio, television and multimedia services must reserve, between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm, at least 12% of their broadcasting time, excluding time allocated to news, sporting events, television games, advertising, teletext, and teleshopping, to cinematographic and audiovisual works of fiction, animation, or documentaries of original Italian expression, wherever produced. At least a quarter of this quota is reserved for cinematographic works of original Italian expression. (Art. 1(37), substituting article 53(3) of L.D. No. 208.)

Half of this quota is reserved for works of original Italian expression produced anywhere by independent producers in the last five years. (Art. 1(37), substituting article 54(2) of L.D. No. 208.)

These concessionaires must reserve at least 17% of their overall annual revenues for the purchase or production of European works produced by independent producers, of which half must be reserved for works of original Italian expression by independent producers in the last five years. (Art. 1(37), substituting article 54(4-5) of L.D. No. 208.)

 Dante Figueroa, Law Library of Congress
June 7, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Acosta, Luis. Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on Audiovisual Media Services. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-06/italy-implementation-of-eu-legislation-on-audiovisual-media-services/.

APA citation style:

Acosta, L. (2024) Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on Audiovisual Media Services. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-06/italy-implementation-of-eu-legislation-on-audiovisual-media-services/.

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Acosta, Luis. Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on Audiovisual Media Services. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-06/italy-implementation-of-eu-legislation-on-audiovisual-media-services/>.