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Digital Services Act

What is the Digital Services Act (DSA)?

The Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) are the European Commission’s legislative proposals to tackle the complex challenges facing the EU Digital Single Market. These challenges are economic, social, and political in nature and adequately solving them is key to guaranteeing the future of EU democracies and respect for the EU’s fundamental values.
The DMA focuses on gatekeepers’ behaviours and their impact on market dynamics, while the DSA seeks to consolidate various separate pieces of EU legislation and self-regulatory practices that address online illegal or ‘harmful’ content and to harmonise the rules applicable to the provision of digital services across the EU.
The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act encompass a single set of new rules applicable across the whole EU.

Statements and recommendations from members of the EU media advocacy working group and/members

Twenty years after the adoption of the E-Commerce Directive, a cornerstone of Internet freedom in Europe, the EU institutions are set to review whether it is still fit for purpose and adopt a new set of rules governing online platforms as part of a new Digital Services Act (DSA). As the EU is poised to launch its consultation on the DSA, ARTICLE 19 proposes ten key recommendations for the regulation of digital services, especially social media platforms.
Article 19's recommendations are the following:
  • Overarching principles of any regulatory framework must be transparency, accountability and the protection of human rights;
  • Conditional immunity from liability for third-party content must be maintained but its scope and notice and action procedures must be clarified;
  • General monitoring of content must be prohibited;
  • Any regulatory framework must be strictly limited in scope;
  • Obligations under any regulatory scheme must be clearly defined;
  • Any regulator must be independent both in law and practice;
  • Any regulatory framework must be proportionate;
  • Any regulatory framework must provide access to effective remedies;
  • Largeplatforms should be required to unbundle their hosting and content moderation functions and ensure they are interoperable with other services;
  • Data collection in the provision of digital services and digital advertising should be strictly limited.

Reports & Papers

This article argues that, by correcting market failures through the regulation of digital platforms, the European Commission and EU member states have a very powerful instrument at hand to achieve and sustain the goal of healthy media landscapes within the Union, its neighbours, and even at a global level.