Mind public service broadcasting

Public service broadcasting, or - more inclusively - public service media,8 occupies a special role in relation to the promotion of cultural expressions (McGonagle, 2014: 63). Such role is explicitly recognised in Article 6(h) of the UNESCO Convention and - at the EU level - in the 1997 Protocol (No. 29) on the system of public broadcasting in the member states. Protocol No. 29 emphasises that 'the system of public service broadcasting in the member states is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and the need to preserve media pluralism'.9

Public service broadcasting institutions are well entrenched in Europe and protected from EU interference because Protocol No. 29 guarantees member states' organisational autonomy in this area observant of the EU competition rules.10 EU primary law, however, does not foresee the introduction of public service media at the EU level.

From the previous analysis, it follows that, on the one hand, the EU presides the economic tenets of audiovisual and online services in the internal market and on the other hand, it has only marginal competences as regards the cultural and democratic functions of the media. This complex and interlocked distribution of competences must be borne in mind for a proper understanding of the role of the EU in promoting cultural diversity in the audiovisual and online sectors.

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