Europe’s public service broadcasters have called on EU governments to ‘make history’ by setting out the rules for the future of the open internet.

In a declaration issued by the EBU, members said net neutrality rules are necessary to strengthen freedom of expression in the digital age, to foster knowledge for citizens, to leverage incentives for Europe’s creative industries and to boost innovation.

EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said: “PSM organisations in Europe share the view that strong net neutrality rules need to be one of the foundations of the Internet of tomorrow. Without clear and strong rules, access to online-content risks becoming confined to walled gardens rather than widely available in open spaces.”

He added: “These rules are very important for PSM because we want to give citizens easy access to our online-content without Internet access providers acting as gatekeepers. More broadly, a solid net neutrality framework will provide long-term guarantees for freedom of expression and pluralism, and favour innovation.”

The declaration was adopted during the EBU’s 74th General Assembly with the intention of highlighting the issue to EU Institutions, currently engaged in negotiations on the Single Telecoms Market Regulation.

Broadcasters are often protected by must carry rules, but with internet-delivered broadcasting giving new opportunities, there are dangers from commercial pay-TV providers striking deals with ISPs.