EPC priorities for the trialogues on Political Advertising Regulation
EPC welcomes the progress that has been made during the trialogues and technical meetings on the proposal on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. However there are some key aspects which pose significant definitional and technical challenges for media that should be seriously considered by policy makers:
Technical challenges: EPC would like to point out some technical concerns that publishers have regarding their obligations under Articles 6, 7 and 9. Under the current programmatic advertising environment which is responsible for the vast majority of advertisements placed on publishers’ websites, publishers are technically not in a position to comply with some obligations that have been imposed upon them. Rather, the providers of political advertising services are the only ones who should be responsible for providing the necessary information, create the mechanisms needed, and to act upon the obligations. Policymakers should seriously consider changes to these articles to ensure the obligations are both proportionate and technically possible to deliver, in order to strike a fair balance for the longer term.
Definition of political advertising: A clear definition of how to identify political advertising is key. Political advertising should not be confused with political reporting, which aims to enable voters to make an informed choice, nor with commercial advertising, which has the objective to inform consumers. The definition is currently overly broad which will be counterproductive, encompassing content outside the scope of this regulation.
Editorial content: all editorial content, and not just political opinions, published and disseminated in all editorial media should not be considered as political advertisement, unless it has been published for remuneration. Only an exclusion of all editorial content in all editorial media from the scope of the regulation will ensure the protection of press and media freedom. This would likewise provide legal certainty and ensure that political reporting on political parties, candidates and narratives, including statement of facts etc. is not considered political advertising.