07.58 Europe/London, September 15, 2011 By Robert Briel

The Dutch Council of State (Raad van State) has ruled that the public broadcasters can go ahead with their digital thematic channels, websites, mobile TV, catch-up TV and other new media ventures.

The Council ruled that the broadcasters do not need any further approval from the responsible Minister.

The case was brought about by the VESTRA (the Dutch association of private broadcasters), the VCR (Associoation of Dutch commercial broadcaster) and the NDP (Association of Dutch newspaper publishers), who are of the opinion that the new media ventures of the public broadcaster distort the market.

In an earlier instance, the Amsterdam court ruled that the Minister needed to give permission for each new undertaking after studying the market impact.

In a joint statement, the three commercial associations said: “We find that the minister explains the European rules too restrictive and that the interests of the sector are not sufficiently considered. The public broadcasters compete with taxpayers’ money more and more in the areas of the commercial media. This market distortion impedes initiatives from the private sector. “

The associations are now expected to bring the case to the European Court.