On 11 August 2021 the Polish parliament adopted an amendment (the “Act”) to the Act on radio and television and to the Act on cinematography. The Act is now awaiting the signature of the Polish President.
The Act implements Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/1808), and amends inter alia rules governing jurisdiction over media service providers, their information obligations, regulations concerning placement of ads and protection of consumers, in particular minors. In addition, it and introduces new regulations regarding video-sharing platforms.
The Act will enter into force on 1 November 2021, except for certain provisions which will enter into force on 1 January 2022.
Obligation to enter into the register
The Act introduces an obligation for on-demand audiovisual media service providers and video-sharing platform providers established in Poland or deemed to be established in Poland under the Act, to be entered into the register of on-demand audiovisual media services and video-sharing platforms, respectively. Those entities that are in business on the date the Act will enter into force, will have three months following the date the Act enters into force, to fulfil this obligation. Failure to register could result in fines. Please see more information about the amount of those fines in point 2 of this article.
The Act introduces, for the first time, explicit regulations on video-sharing platforms. Video sharing platforms are defined as services provided by electronic means, the primary purpose whereof (or of its severable part) is to provide the general public with programmes or user-generated videos, for informational, entertainment or educational purposes, for which the service provider has no editorial responsibility but it decides on the method of compilation.
In particular, video sharing platform providers will now be obliged to:
- provide their users with easy, direct and constant access to certain information, in particular, the details of the service provider and the list of its services;
- submit an application for entry into the list of video-sharing platforms kept by the National Broadcasting Council mentioned in point 1 of this article;
- make available technical measures, including parental control measures, to protect minors;
- comply with requirements for advertising content;
- provide the users with transparent and friendly mechanisms for reporting illegal content and to respond to the user’s notification within 48 hours deadline.
If the service provider has not ceased the infringing actions within 14 days following the National Broadcasting Council’s request to cease the activities related to the provision of video-sharing platform services, the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council imposes a financial penalty amounting up to 20 times the average monthly salary in the enterprises sector (currently, the approximate maximum amount of such financial penalty would be EUR 24 625).
Placement of ads
The Act modifies obligations for media service providers with respect to ad placement.
- total advertising and teleshopping time cannot exceed certain limits within the particular time slots;
- the transmission of sporting events or films for children may now be interrupted to broadcast an advertisement;
- advertisements for e-cigarettes will be forbidden;
- product placement is allowed in all broadcasts except for: news (excluding weather news and sports news), broadcasts about social and political topics, broadcasts concerning consumer issues, religious broadcasts, programmes for children.
Protection of consumers
The Act broadens the existing limitations for broadcasting certain content in media services. The catalogue of forbidden content now contains, among other things, content related to incitement to violence or hatred against a group of people based on genetic features, language, property, birth, age or sexual orientation or containing content that may facilitate the commission of a terrorist crime.
The media service providers will also be obliged to use appropriate measures to block access to content threatening the physical, mental or moral development, to minors.
Moreover, the Act broadens the obligation to label the broadcasts using graphic symbols in order to inform about the content threatening the physical, mental or moral development of minors for additional information about the type of such threats.
Other important regulations
The Act amends also the regulations concerning the promotion and support of European creativity by media service providers as well as the regulations on the use of functionalities to make on-demand audiovisual media services more accessible to persons with disabilities. The Act provides for a staged approach, the consequence of which is that the providers would be obliged to ensure that at least 30% of the broadcasts included in the publicly available catalogue had such functionalities from 2026.
Media service providers should now review their current practices and prepare for introducing required changes and new obligations.
If you are interested in specific regulations which has been summarised in this article, please contact us.
Authored by Ewa Kacperek and Weronika Olszewska.