The European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education failed to protect children from pornography and harmful content when they voted to adopt new audiovisual media services directive. This European Legislation, if approved in the plenary session next 15th of May, will set the rules for all European countries on what television and online video platform (Youtube, Netflix, etc.) must do in order to broadcast in the whole European market.
Thanks to the commitment of members of the Children’s Rights Intergroup, language was introduced protecting children from ads featuring alcoholic beverages, tobacco, violence, hatred, and terrorism on on-demand platforms.
However, the Committee chose not to renew protections against pornography and gratuitous violence on television, nor to expand those protections to include online platforms as suggested by amendments 410, 416, and others proposed by a coalition of MEPs from different political parties. The level of protection that has been approved is clearly insuficient for European families that facing the challenge of protecting their children from harmful content online.
With more than 1,000 amendments and five committees of the parliament involved, the debates were assured to be tight. Many corporate and bussiness lobbyists have been following the process closely as their clients’ profits will be directly affected by this regulation. However, the complexity of the issue and pressure from private companies should not be an excuse to forgo putting the best interests of the child at the forefront of the legislative process.
European families need better policies to protect their children from pornography. Through its actions and decisions, it seems the Committee of Culture and Education of the European Parliament shows itself to be in favour of profit and economic development, rather than the protection of children and the family. WYA hopes that the plenary of the European Parliament will change the directive before adoption and stand firm on the side of child protection.
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