Financing the public service broadcasting under European Union law
Palavras-chave:Public service broadcasting, European Union, State Aid Law, content programmes
ResumoA protocol annexed to the Amsterdam Treaty, regarding public broadcasting in Member States, provides that Member States are free to fund public service broadcasting as far as it does not affect competition in the European Union to an extent which would be contrary to the common interest. As a result of this condition, the European Commission carries out a proportionality test to check if there is no overcompensation or disproportionate effects of public funding. It nonetheless does so by adopting a global control which considers all public broadcaster programmes as part of the public service remit. Such control is problematic because it does not take into account the distinction between commercial and public service programmes nor the actual quality of programmes. The Commission indeed focuses its control on the advertisement market, making sure that public broadcasters do not take advantage of public funding to lower the price of advertisement rates. The freedom enjoyed by public broadcasters to provide any types of programmes as far as they respect the advertisement market comes out to be contrary to citizen welfare.
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