ERGA publishes its new position on the ongoing trilogue on the regulation of transparency and targeting of political advertising

In the Digital Services Act context, the European Commission (EC) has proposed a Regulation on the transparency and targeting of political advertising, which will apply to both online and offline activities. The regulation aims to ensure greater transparency in the processes involved in the preparation, placement, promotion, publication and dissemination of political advertising while strengthening the protection of natural persons in the processing of personal data by setting out rules on the use of targeting and amplification techniques in the context of political advertising.

The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) has published a detailed position paper following the draft regulation. As an advisory body to the EC, ERGA presented the regulators' priorities for the upcoming negotiations between the EC, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, the so-called Trilogue. They were formulated under the guidance of the Council for Media Services, represented by Stanislav Matějko, head of the analytical department. In the prepared package of recommendations, ERGA emphasises the following:

  • Definition of terms related to political advertising - ERGA welcomes the agreement between the Council and the European Parliament to define the differences between targeting and amplifying political advertising.
  • Ad archives - ERGA, considering regulators' position on monitoring compliance with the Regulation, considers it important that regulated entities make information available in ad archives. Ad archives should be publicly accessible in real-time through a common Application Programming Environment (API) and should include a set of minimum features.
  • Targeting and amplification of political advertising - ERGA believes that targeting and amplification techniques should be limited to data for which the user has given their explicit consent; they should be banned altogether when using platform-derived data.
  • Sanctions and supervisors - ERGA stresses that excluding certain national authorities from the network of national contact points would make establishing a consistent sanctions regime impossible. Concerning the enforcement of the Regulation, ERGA proposes to adopt a two-tier system of sanctions that would promote transparency and rapid mitigation of damages.
  • Compliance with the Digital Services Act. The Digital Services Act establishes mechanisms for effective cross-border cooperation between Digital Service Coordinators. However, ERGA does not consider it necessary to involve these coordinators in cases where sector-specific mechanisms streamline enforcement.

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