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AIG Newsletter 11 March 2024

Advertising Information Group-Newsletter

Lesedauer: 5 Minuten





On March 5, 2024, the partner organisations of the Council of Europe (CoE) Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists published its annual report “Press Freedom in Europe: Time to Turn the Tide”. The Report delved into the obstacles to the press freedom in Europe, namely SLAPPs, intimidations and detention, attacks on public service media, and systemic threats such as criminal defamation and limitations to the independence of media regulators, among others. 

Several priority recommendations aimed at CoE Member States were proposed, such as (1) issuing a moratorium on the export, sale, transfer, and use of highly intrusive spyware tools, (2) refraining from the unlawful deployment of spyware against journalists, (3) granting the latter the strongest possible legal safeguards against such technologies, and (4) the establishment of humanitarian visa schemes and other appropriate measures for journalists facing imminent danger. The document also addressed European Institutions with specific recommendations, the most noteworthy were: (1) the transposition and implementation of the European Media Freedom Act and the SLAPPs Directive after their approval; (2) the strengthening of the European Commission’s Rule of Law Report; and (3) the investigation by the Commission of unjustified deployment of spyware against journalists and the proposal of legislative measures to respond to it.


On 27 February, the European Parliament Plenary approved the provisional agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations on the Proposal for a Directive on protecting persons who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded or abusive court proceedings (“Strategic lawsuits against public participation”, or SLAPPs). 

The agreement was voted in favour by 546 MEPs, 47 rejected it, whilst 31 abstained. The agreement prescribed specific protections for targets of SLAPPs, notably early dismissal if the case is unfounded, and the possibility to ask the claimant to pay the estimated costs of proceedings. In addition, the court may also impose other penalties on claimants, such as ordering them to pay compensation for damages caused. Forum shopping has also been addressed: third-country judgments in unfounded or abusive proceedings against individuals or institutions from the EU will not be recognised. Member States will also have to ensure that victims of SLAPPs can access the relevant information on procedural safeguards and remedies in a single place and provide legal aid in cross-border civil proceedings.


27 February 27, the EP Plenary confirmed the provisional agreement reached in trilogue on Transparency and targeting of political advertising with 470 votes in favour, 50 against and 105 abstentions. The newly adopted rules aim to increase public trust in election campaigns and combat disinformation and foreign interference. 

The Regulation focus on transparency and accountability of political advertising, ensuring that advertisements are clearly labelled with information on their sponsors, funding and recipients. To prevent foreign interference, advertisements from outside the EU are banned in the three months before elections or referendums. Furthermore, targeting strategies for online advertisement require the explicit consent of individuals, with restrictions on the use of sensitive personal data. 

These rules only regulate  paid political ads, leaving unaffected personal opinions, journalistic content and official communications. The new rules will apply 18 months after the entry into force. However, the rules on non-discriminatory provision of cross-border political advertising will apply already 20 days after the publication in the Official Journal and therefore will already apply for the upcoming European Elections.


On 1 March, the EC sent a formal request to Meta under the DSA framework. Specifically, the EC is seeking further information on Meta’s ad-free subscription introduced for both Facebook and Instagram. The EC wants to verify if Meta is complying with the rules on advertising practices, recommender systems and risk assessments concerning this option.  

The request to Meta also covers topics such as terrorist content, risk assessment on civic discourse and election processes, and child protection. The request is based on previous investigations and on the replies sent by the company. Meta must reply by 15 March to the questions linked to previous investigations and by 22 March to the others.


Back in 2022, the Belgian Data Protection Authority held that the Transparency and Consent (TC) String constituted personal data within the meaning of the GDPR and that IAB Europe had been acting as data controller without fully complying with the requirements of the GDPR, imposing on it corrective measures and an administrative fine. Subsequently, IAB Europe contested that decision and brought an action before the Brussels Court of Appeal, who referred questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. 

In its judgment, the Court of Justice judged that the TC String did constitute personal data and that IAB Europe was a ‘joint controller’ within the meaning of the GDPR. The CJEU’s justification was that IAB Europe appeared to exert influence over data processing operations when the consent preferences of users are recorded in a TC String, and to determine, jointly with its members, both the purposes of those operations and the means behind them However, IAB Europe could not be regarded as a controller, in respect of data processing operations occurring after the consent preferences of users are recorded in a TC String, unless it could be established that that association had or is exerting influence over the purposes and means of subsequent data processing. IAB Europe’s statement can be found here.


13 March: Building inclusive pathways for better digital services(Belgian Presidency)

14 March: AI and machine translation for secondary education. (European Commission)

14 March: BEREC Online Workshop digital network developments. (BEREC)

14 March: European Innovation Council Summit 2024. (European Innovation Council)

19 March: Retail Media Standards for Europe. (IAB Europe)

20 March: The European Connectivity Landscape - What Reforms Are Needed for a New Era?(EURACTIV)

21 March: Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. (Hello Tomorrow)

22 March: Navigating European rules on prominence of general interest content. (CERRE)

26 March: Cyber Statecraft: Great Cyber Power Competition. (RUSI)

Stand: 11.03.2024