September 4, 2013 07.30 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul
Italy’s Council of State has ruled that that the channel encrypting by the public broadcaster RAI of certain programmes on Sky’s platform, including newscasts and exclusive Italian national football matches, is illegal.
The Council of State is the highest legal-administrative body in the country and its decision confirms one by the Lazio regional court in 2012, which also came out in Sky’s favour but RAI appealed.
Both courts said that RAI must adopt a neutral attitude on all the various platforms considering that it is a public service broadcaster and that Italian TV tax is also mandatory for Sky’s subscribers.
Distributing content only on TvSat, a free-to-air digital satellite television platform launched by the joint venture between RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media, is not sufficient as its signal does not even cover every area.
The courts also noted that Sky does not obtain any substantial financial gain from broadcasting RAI programming. The decision is a major blow for RAI, which in fact rejected an offer of €350 million by Sky in 2009 to broadcast certain premium channels, as well as RAI’s FTA channels.
Shortly afterwards, the public broadcasting began encrypting some FTA broadcasts.