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EUROPA - Audiovisual and Media Policies

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Regulatory Framework - Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasters are broadcasters with a public service mandate.

The definition of this mandate falls within the competence of the Member States, which can decide at national, regional or local level.  Such a mandate would be consistent with the objective of fulfilling the democratic, social and cultural needs of a particular society and guaranteeing pluralism, including cultural and linguistic diversity. To fulfil this mandate, the public broadcaster benefits from license fees or direct financial support from the State.

The Protocol on the System of public broadcasting in the Member States sets out the respective competencies of the European Union and the Member states in this field. The Commission's task is to verify whether or not Member States respect the Treaty provisions, especially the State Aid rules in this area. The Principles are laid down in the Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to Public Service Broadcasting (2001).

A revised Communication was adopted on 2 July 2009. 

The new Communication has sharpened the focus on accountability and effective control at national level by including a transparent evaluation of the overall impact of publicly-funded new media services. The main changes include: ex ante review of significant new services launched by public service broadcasters, balancing the market impact of such new services with their public value being a key feature; clarifications concerning the inclusion of pay services within the public service remit; more effective control of overcompensation and enhanced supervision of the public service mission at the national level.

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