UPC Cablecom contests Joiz must-carry

07.38 Europe/London, September 30, 2011 By Robert Briel

Swiss cable operator UPC Cablecom has asked the Federal Court to review the must-carry status of youth channel Joiz in analogue.

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court ruled on August 23 that the cabler has to carry Joiz in its basic analogue bouquet. UPC Cablecom has been distributing the youth channel since March in its basic digital tier.
The verdict of the Federal Administrative Court that is being challenged with the present complaint supports an order made by the Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM) on November 10, 2010. With this order, UPC Cablecom was obligated to transmit the TV channel Joiz free of charge in its range of analogue channels because in the opinion of OFCOM the channel makes a special contribution to the constitutional performance mandate of radio and television.
Whilst UPC Cablecom has been distributing the channel digitally in a prominent slot since the first day it was launched, the largest cable network company in Switzerland is of the opinion that additional analogue broadcasting of Joiz is not justified. “It does not seem reasonable to have to remove from the extensive, 36-channel, analogue TV service a full public service German-language programme that has been established for decades in order to accommodate Joiz,” according to UPC.
The interventions that would therefore be necessary in the analogue programmes and the restrictions this would entail for viewers would be considerable. In the opinion of UPC Cablecom this would not in any way be commensurate with the increase in coverage anticipated by Joiz.
Article 60 of the Federal Radio and Television Act (RTVA) stipulates that channels with particularly valuable journalistic content must be broadcast free of charge in the analogue service by cable operators. The Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM) can on application from a channel decree that transmission must be activated.