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Malta/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.7 Mass media

All policy regulations related to broadcasting in Malta are the responsibility of the Malta Broadcasting Authority. Formal laws are enacted through Parliament. The 29 September 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Broadcasting Authority through the Broadcasting Ordinance of 1961. It was set up under an Executive Council with an Interim Constitution during a period when a new constitution for Malta was being prepared allowing for a measure of self-government and recognizing the State of Malta.

The Broadcasting Ordinance of 1961 was modelled on the Independent Television Authority of 1954 at that time in the UK, which was created to supervise the creation of Independent TV (ITV), the first commercial television network in the UK.  However, the Broadcasting Authority was also given the power to produce its own radio and television programmes, while it also had to annually invest GBP 10 000 and GBP 25 000 in qualitative programmes that were to be broadcast on both the services licensed to its two contractors: Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd. and Malta Television Service Ltd.

The proposed Legal Notice 158 on Broadcasting Regulations in Malta reserves an unspecified majority (not a specific proportion) of transmission time for European works. This applies to all public and private TV-stations but does not cover radio. Government also allocates a specific fund for TV and Radio programming to the public broadcaster as public service obligation for culture, current affairs, entertainment, sports and children's programming.

The Broadcasting Act of 1991 (amended several times between 1993 and 2001) stipulates that public broadcasting in the Maltese islands should provide high quality programming across a full range of public tastes and interests. The Act declares that public broadcasting has "a particular duty to provide programming of an educational and cultural nature", and stresses the need for local preference.

On 1 January 2001, the Malta Communications Authority was set up to liberalise and regulate telecommunication services. While the onus of broadcast content remained the prerogative of the Broadcasting Authority, telecommunication licences including those for radio frequencies in the UHF Band and digital terrestrial television broadcasting had to be endorsed by the Malta Communications Authority which took over the operations of the Wireless and Telegraphy Department.[1]

[1]         Axiak M (2011) 50 Years or service

Chapter published: 12-08-2015

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