Spain rules out independent regulator

Spain will remain one of the few European countries without an independent regulatory body that oversees the broadcast industry. The Government has finally ruled out the creation of a specific Audiovisual watchdog for lack of money thereby breaking its promise to set up the State Media Council (CEMA) approved in 2010 with an estimated cost of €7 million.

With the decision, the regulatory control of the TV sector will be now in the hands of the National Markets and Competition Commission, also in charge of the supervision of other industries like electricity and the railways.

Ten members of the Commission will see that TV stations abide by the obligation of dedicating five per cent of their revenues to films and European works. It will also be responsible for overseeing the quality of content and avoiding inappropriate content for children, as well as guaranteeing that TV channels do not exceed the ad time limit. Last year, the Ministry of Industry imposed 29 fines on broadcasters with a total amount of €3.3 million for breaking the TV law on those matters.

In addition, the Ministry of Industry will be the responsible for the renewal of TV licences whereas the Ministry of the Presidency will decide which sports events must be FTA broadcast.

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