Spanish regional public TV stations may turn private

Iñaki Ferreras ©RapidTVNews | 17-01-2012

The Spanish government is working on a project law opening the door to the private management of regional public broadcasters.
As reported by Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, the government has considered a report on the draft amendment to the Law on Audiovisual Communication that will allow autonomous communities to be able to "decide how to manage public television channels," including "indirect forms of management". Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha, both governed by the Popular Party, had called for greater freedom to manage their television sets, according to government sources.
Spain's public television ended 2010 with losses of €536 million, up 3% compared with 2009, which represented a net cost - the compensation of the advertising revenue - for every Spanish home of €152, meaning 5.6% more than twelve months earlier.
The vice president recalled that the Commission's Telecommunications Market (CMT) has warned in its report to the draft Audiovisual Communication Act, passed in 2010, there was "a legal absence in dealing with management potential various forms of regional public television "and a" necessity "that the law clarify the possibility of using methods of management mechanisms or indirect.

The Vice President said that one of the election commitments "of the PP was" to extend the possibility of the autonomous communities to choose "freely" as the management of public television and has stressed that it is not imposing any model communities.

On the possibility of private companies managing public broadcasters she stressed that the Contract Law of the State Public Sector provides various formulas for the indirect management of public services. In any case, has said that regardless of the management model that each autonomous community choose for your television, there will always be safeguarded obligations for public service and the financial and budgetary balance.
"The state law does not establish any obligation, is not constrain the management framework, but to expand the possibilities for each autonomous region within the framework of its constitution and within its competence to decide freely how they manage this public service , whether directly or indirect forms of management, " she stated.

Saenz de Santamaria also noted that the reform of the Audiovisual Law has been made "urgent matter" because it was an election commitment of the PP, but also because it is a measure "urgently needed" to ensure the "viability" of the service regional public television and "open to the autonomous management mechanisms that contribute to the improvement of public accounts."

However, the vice president noted that it is a "timely reform" that may come along once the legislature to "other changes in this area" to comply with European directives or adaptation of European digital agenda.