Prepared for European Union Competencies in respect of Media Pluralism and Media Freedom – Policy Conference
Soft law instruments: a starting point oran easy way out?Prepared for European Union Competencies inrespect of Media Pluralism and Media Freedom –Policy ConferenceFiesole, 29th October 2012Federica Casarosa – European University Institute
Outline of the presentation Short description of soft law Soft law in the European context Criteria for the selection of soft law instruments Few suggestions
Soft law instruments: evanescent definition Different definitions of soft law Soft law concerns rules of conduct which, in principle, have no legal binding force but which nevertheless may have practical effects (Snyder, 1994) Soft law concerns committments which are more than policy statements but less than law in its strict sense. They have in common, without being binding as a matter of law, a certain proximity to the law or a certain legal relevance (Thurer, 1990) Three main features Rules of conduct No or limited binding force But some practical effect or influence over behaviours
Soft law available in EU toolkit Preparatory or informative instruments Green papers, White papers, action programmes, etc. Inter-institutional communications Interpretative and decisional instruments Interpretative communications and notices, decisional guidelines, codes and frameworks, etc. Formal and non-formal steering instruments Commission and Council recommendations, commission opinions Council decisions, declarations and conclusions, joint declarations and intr- institutional agreements, etc.
Scope of soft law instruments Depending on the objectives pursued, the instruments that can be selected to achieve it can be different. General objective is improving media pluralism However, several facets can be addressed External and internal pluralism Political and cultural pluralism Diversity (of output and of source) Independence … Which are the target subjects?
Few suggestions (1) Foster pluralism through existing institutional bodies Role of national regulatory authorities fora Contact Committee (art 29 AVMS) Facilitate effective implementation of the AVMS direcive, deliver opinions, discuss the outcomes of Commission consultations, facilitate exchange of information on the development of regulatory activities… Role of European Fundamental Rights Agency Current remit does not include media pluralism, nor more generally freedom of expression Difficult to extend it within the 5-year programme
Few suggestions (2) Take into account the technological convergence Increasing role for citizens/users voice Emergence of new intermediaries Modification of supply chain points towards propertarisation of content What place for citizens’ voices? Subsidising citizen participation in public service media How to protect and support citizens’ voices in e.g. content aggregators?
Few suggestions (3) Address attection to private regulation Significant role for private regulation (both self- and co- regulation) in all media sectors Guidelines addressing key characteristics of private regulation Regulatory independence, fair enforcement procedures, etc. E.g. Involving DG Connect on the blueprint of what already done by DG SANCO for health issues in food marketing for children