Media houses lament lack of protection in new Digital Services Act

Reading Time: 3 minutes

MEPs agreed a draft set of measures to tackle illegal content, to ensure platforms are held accountable for their algorithms, and improve content moderation. The text, which was approved by large majority, will be used as the mandate to negotiate with the French presidency of the Council, representing member states.

Despite the move, media organisations around Europe regretted that despite the inclusion of an obligation on online intermediaries to enforce media freedom and pluralism in their terms and conditions , the European Parliament’s position failed to provide a complete framework for the protection of lawful media content and citizens’ access to information: without specific communication channels or trusted flaggers status, nor with the opportunity to challenge content moderation decisions before their implementation, press publishers remain at the mercy of platforms’ arbitrary decisions.

Wout van Wijk, Executive Director at News Media Europe, said that “news publishers regret that the European Parliament didn’t invest more efforts in the protection of lawful media content nor raised the bar in the fight against illegal content. We call on the co-legislators to achieve the right level of regulatory ambition in the coming months”.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services, and in particular online platforms, such as social media and marketplaces.

The DSA establishes a “notice and action” mechanism, as well as safeguards, for the removal of illegal products, services or content online. Providers of hosting services should act on receipt of such a notice “without undue delay, taking into account the type of illegal content that is being notified and the urgency of taking action”. MEPs also included stronger safeguards to ensure notices are processed in a non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory manner and with respect for fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression.

Media organisations however expressed concern that despite the inclusion of an obligation on online intermediaries to enforce media freedom and pluralism in their terms and conditions, the European Parliament’s position does not fully protect lawful media content and citizens’ access to information: without specific communication channels or trusted flaggers status, nor with the opportunity to challenge content moderation decisions before their implementation, press publishers remain at the mercy of platforms’ arbitrary decisions.

Another contentious issue raised during the plenary session revolved targeted ads.

A group of MEPs had originally pushed for a complete ban on targeted ads, eventually settling for a compromise to prohibit the targeting of minors. Three in four internet users do not want their personal data to be used for targeting online ads, according to a recent YouGov poll from France and Germany.

Last-minute amendments also included extending the limitation to sensitive personal data such as political and religious beliefs and sexual orientation at the plenary vote.

Once you're here...

%d bloggers like this: