European Parliament Committee’s approach on ePrivacy would harm European media and citizens

IAB Europe regrets today’s decision by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to back amendments that would force news and other European websites to provide their content for free. 

First published by IAB Europe

Over the objections of a substantial minority of MEPs, the Committee in effect voted to allow the expropriation of publishers’ work. “News and other online services rely on data-driven, ad-funded business models to finance the creation of content”, noted Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe CEO. “Content that must be given away for nothing will ultimately end up being worth nothing.“

“Well-intentioned MEPs believe they need to take these extreme measures to protect citizens. This is simply not true. Privacy rights are already expanded significantly in the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted last year. And sadly, other fundamental rights, including the right to access diverse, quality information sources affordably, media freedom, and property rights, are being needlessly sacrificed.”

“More than ever, Europe needs vibrant, independent media that can hold power to account. We welcome the fact that a considerable number of Committee Members seem to share this conviction. This said, the majority view betrays a mystifying disregard for it, and by the very political groups one might have thought would be most conscious of it.”

The IAB UK's Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Yves Schwarzbart said: "Content creators across Europe should be alarmed at the outcome of today’s vote. Data-driven advertising continues to be the number one funding model for making access to digital services available to UK citizens at little or no cost. This model is now under severe threat. Individuals’ rights to privacy are undisputed but should not come at expense of outlawing business models that provide the very services we know people crave and enjoy. We welcome that this view is shared by large minority of Committee members and call on UK Government to continue to advocate pragmatism and the ad-funded business model in the way it has successfully done in the past.”

IAB Europe calls on the Parliament not to start trilogues before all Members have been consulted via a Plenary vote.

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