Social Media Regulation: YouTube and Co.

YouTube-type video sharing services should be subject to stricter regulation. This is the goal of the European Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The Czech Republic was obliged to transpose this directive into Czech law by September 19, 2020. Obviously, that has not happened yet. The European Commission sued the Czech Republic and proposed the imposition of a fine. Czech legislators are now eager to catch up and finally presented a respective bill.

The bill introduces a number of obligations, measures and sanctions related to video sharing platforms and their providers. The aim is to protect users from hate and violent speech, and incitement to terrorism. Children shall be better protected from content that might affect their development and the protection of the consumers shall be strengthened. However, the potential fines to be imposed under the new law appear to be relatively modest, with a maximum fine of CZK 500,000 or appr. EUR 20,000 per offence.

Providers shall be obliged to register in the list of providers of video sharing platforms, but more important seem the new rules and restrictions on the placement of advertisements. Providers are not allowed to place advertisements with hidden commercial messages, subliminal techniques or advertisements for cigarettes, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes including refills, medicines and medical procedures that are available in the Czech Republic only on prescription. Any advertisements that might physically, psychologically or morally threaten minors are also prohibited. Same restrictions apply to advertisements placed on provider’s platform by third party. The provider shall allow users to report and identify harmful content, verify the age of users, provide parental control etc.

The implementation of the directive shall also lead to a strengthening of the position and independence of the Czech Broadcasting Council as its members shall be elected and recalled directly by the Chamber of Deputies, while currently the Chamber of Deputies only proposes the candidates.

Whether you are a provider or a user placing content on video platforms, this is the right time to prepare for the new rules. It is likely that the legislative process will not be delayed any longer.

Mgr. Ing. Jan Valíček