Project Overview

What is the objective of the study?

The study entitled “Indicators for independence and efficient functioning of audiovisual media services regulatory bodies for the purpose of enforcing the rules in the AVMS Directive” (SMART 2009/0001) is conducted on behalt of the European Commission, following the Commission’s Invitation to Tender dated May 16, 2009, published in the Official Journal 2009/S 94-134142 as well as on the website of the DG Information Society & Media (http://ec.europa.eu/avpolicy/info_centre/tenders/index_en.htm).

The three general objectives of the study are (1) a detailed legal description and analysis of the audiovisual media services regulatory bodies in the Member States, in candidate and potential candidate countries to the European Union and in the EFTA countries as well as four non-European countries, (2) an analysis of the effective implementation of the legal framework in these countries and (3) the identification of key characteristics constituting an “independent regulatory body” in the light of the AVMS Directive.

Who will carry out this study?

The study will be conducted by Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, K.U. Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Central European University and Cullen International on behalf of the European Commission.

The Hans Bredow Instituts acts as lead contractor for the study, responsible for overall project management, outcomes and deliverables, as well as for communications with the Commission and its agents. The project manager and team leader is Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, director of the Hans Bredow Institute. He will be assisted by three key experts: Philippe Defraigne (director at Cullen International) as key economic expert, Prof. Dr. Peggy Valcke (Professor at the Faculty of Law of K.U. Leuven) as key legal expert and Prof. Dr. Kristina Irion (Professor at Central European University) as key public policy & regulation expert.

For more information on the project team check the “Team” page.

How will the study be carried out?

The scheduled workplan entails 6 work packages: (1) Theoretical background, (2) Analysis of institutional, regulatory and legal frameworks of the media regulators, (3) Analysis of the practical implementation and effectiveness, (4) Identification of key characteristics for a functioning “independent regulatory body”, (5) Valorisation and dissemination and (6) Project management. For more information on each of the work packages check the respective work package information here.

What will the methodology look like?

Understanding the role and characteristics of regulators and the preconditions for effective regulation will be the starting point of the study’s aim to develop specific and detailed indicators for independence and effective functioning of regulatory bodies in the audiovisual media sector. Hence, work package 1 will develop and present the theoretical framework necessary to proceed to the next phases of the study. A good understanding of the concepts that are used, such as independence and ‘effective functioning’, is of paramount importance.

The result of work package 1 will be a set of dimensions and indicators for measuring independence and effective functioning (framework descriptors and implementation/performance indicators). The developed indicators will form the basis for the analysis conducted in work packages 2 and 3.

Work package 2 will analyse the institutional, regulatory and legal frameworks of the audiovisual media services regulatory bodies in the Member States of the EU, candidate and potential candidate countries to the European Union, the EFTA countries, USA, Australia, Singapore and Japan. For that purpose country correspondents will describe the framework in place with the help of standardized tables. They will also draft text-based country reports. The country tables will be displayable as issue tables. Country and issue tables together will provide a comparative analysis of the institutional, regulatory and legal framework. On the basis of the study results the research team will develop categories of regulatory frameworks and classify the existing regulatory bodies in those categories. Also, a set of indicators for measuring the level of “formal” independence will be developed in this work package.

Work package 3 will assess whether the formal regulatory set-up delivers the expected outcome in the application of the audiovisual framework. A first set of indicators for the practical implementation and effectiveness of the institutional, regulatory and legal conditions concerning independent regulatory bodies (implementation and performance indicators I) will have been developed in work package 1 by an analysis of the literature study. In work package 3 further indicators (implementation and performance indicators II) will be developed and where necessary indicators will be validated. The methodology for validation and further development of indicators combines analytical and empirical methods. The empirical method will be applied to indicators which cannot easily be predetermined to be either beneficial or detrimental for the goals of independence and effectiveness. Their impact may depend on the specific circumstances given in the country in question. Stakeholders will be asked to answer online questionnaires which will be collected in a database. The data provided will help the research team to analyse the impact of the described indicators.

In work package 4, key characteristics of a functioning “independent regulatory body” are identified. The study will identify characteristics concerning independence – and other preconditions as being relevant to implementation – that seem to be essential for a functioning “independent regulatory body” as referred to in the AVMS Directive regardless of the system in place. Furthermore the study will identify best practice characteristics. These are not essential characteristics of a functioning “independent regulatory body” but are features that, when in existence, will enhance the capacity of the regulatory authority to complete its tasks in accordance with the prerequisites of the AVMS Directive and of the national rules which transposes the directive or that is enacted in order to obtain an appropriate, balanced, transparent and impartial regulation. Wherever a characteristic is scalable the study will develop criteria to measure the level of the characteristic existent in a national regulatory system.

The quality of the analysis and reports are safeguarded by an advisory board representing expertise in the various facets involved in this study (regulatory theory, media policy and economics).