COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Availability of TV digital terrestrial broadcasting should be completed by 2012.

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Slovakia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.7 Mass media

Basic legal rules governing the area of electronic media (television and radio broadcasting):

  • Act No. 308/2000 Coll. on Broadcasting and Retransmission;
  • Act No. 619/2003 Coll. on Slovak Radio;
  • Act No. 16/2004 Coll. on Slovak Television;
  • Act No. 212/1995 Coll. on Television and Radio Licence Fees; and
  • Act No. 220/2007 Coll. on Digital Broadcasting of Programme Services and the Provision of other Content Services by means of Digital Transmission.

The Acts on Slovak Television, Slovak Radio and Television and Radio Licence Fees regulates the function, tasks, activities, financing, budgetary control and management of public service media. According to the law, the above organisations are defined as national, independent, informative, cultural and educational institutions, providing their services to the public in the area of television and radio broadcasting. Financing of both institutions is ensured by the Act on Television and Radio Licence Fees (concessions). In 2007, the Ministry of Culture submitted a draft of a new law which should amend the definition of public fees and regulate the manner of collection and use thereof designed for ensuring services provided to the public in the area of television and radio broadcasting.

Act No. 308/2000 Coll. on Broadcasting and Retransmission is complex legislation regulating the area of television broadcasting, radio broadcasting and retransmission of programme services in the Slovak Republic. The body entitled to grant licences for television broadcasting, licences for retransmission, and the body in charge over the supervision of the observance of the laws on radio broadcasting is the Board for Broadcasting and Retransmission. Its members are appointed by the National Council of the Slovak Republic for a period of six years. The administrative, legal and expert activities and the monitoring of broadcasting is provided by the Office of the Board.

The Act, apart from defining the main terms, regulates the conditions governing the process of granting licenses for broadcasting, advertising, teleshopping and sponsored programmes broadcast, the protection of human dignity, the protection of under age persons and the right to remedy, access to information and important events through broadcasting to the public, the conditions governing the broadcasting of European works and works of independent producers, the transparency of financial relations of broadcasters (prohibition of property interconnection of broadcasters with each other and between broadcasters and publishers of national periodicals) and sanctions in case of a breach of the law.

The main obligations of broadcasters in relation to the content of the programme service are as follows:

  • diversity of information and plurality of opinion within the broadcast programme service;
  • objectiveness and impartiality of TV and radio reports and political and current affairs programmes;
  • to provide for the use of the state language and the language of national minorities when broadcasting programmes and other elements of a programme service;
  • as regards television broadcasting, to introduce and apply a uniform system of labelling programmes informing the spectators / listeners on the appropriateness of a programme for various ages (7, 12, 15 and 18 years of age);
  • to designate the major share of airtime to works of European authors; the airtime dedicated to news programmes, sporting events, entertainment competitions, advertisements, teletext and teleshopping shall not be deemed to be a part of this airtime;
  • to reserve at least 10% (licensed broadcasters) or 20% (public service broadcasters) of airtime to European works produced by independent producers; airtime dedicated to news programmes, sport events, entertaining competitions , advertisement, teletext and teleshopping shall not be included into the total airtime; this obligation shall also be deemed to have been fulfilled if a licensed broadcaster has dedicated at least 10% and a public service broadcaster at least 20% of its programme budget on the purchase and production of programmes of European works created by independent producers;
  • to keep the time frame stipulated by the Law for Broadcasting of Advertisements, which must not exceed 15% of the airtime during a day, in the case of a licensed broadcaster (this amount can increase to 20% of airtime each day with the exclusion of teleshopping), and in the case of a public service broadcaster, it must not exceed 3% of the airtime each day (this amount can increase up to 10% of airtime each day to the exclusion of teleshopping); the airtime dedicated to the broadcasting of an advertisement and teleshopping must not exceed 20% (12 min) each hour; the airtime dedicated to the broadcasting of an advertisement between 7 pm and 10 pm must not exceed 8 minutes for each hour in the case of a public service broadcaster; and
  • to observe the ban on sponsoring news programmes, sports news and political news.

Special obligations of a broadcaster relating to the Public Service Broadcasting Act are as follows:

  • during the broadcasting of a television programme service, at least 25% of all broadcast programmes on every programme circuit must have been provided with hidden or open subtitles;
  • during the broadcasting of a television programme service, at least 1% of all broadcast programmes on one programme circuit must be translated into sign language or must be broadcast in sign language; and
  • to provide for a mixed programme structure, especially a majority proportion of programmes in the public interest.

According to this Act, programmes of public interest are programmes focused on the informative and cultural needs of listeners or spectators within the territory covered by the broadcaster's signal, in particular:

  • programmes for under aged persons, focused on educational and informative purposes;
  • news programmes;
  • programmes focused on education and training, science and research;
  • programmes which provide legal and other information, or support a healthy lifestyle, the protection of nature and the environment, the protection of life, health and property and safety on roads;
  • programmes which present culture, with emphasis on the Slovak national culture and the culture of national minorities and ethnic minorities, their life and beliefs;
  • programmes which present religious activities; and
  • programmes designated for groups of citizens in social need.

Act No. 220/2007 Coll. on Digital Broadcasting regulates the conditions governing digital broadcasting of programme services and the provision of other content services by means of a digital transmission within the territory of the Slovak Republic, the rights and obligations of natural persons and legal entities in connection with digital broadcasting of programme services and the provision of other content services broadcast by means of  digital transmission, and the scope of action and competences of the public administration bodies on the regulation of the digital broadcasting of programme services and other content services provided by means of a digital transmission. The Act does not apply to content services accessible through the internet if this service isn't accessible by another manner of transmission.

The Act comprehensively regulates the process and the conditions governing the installation of digital transmissions in the Slovak Republic and the operation of supplemental content services. The Act also regulates the conditions governing the allocation and operation of a terrestrial multiplex in a television broadcast band, and specifies an individual, special public-legal multiplex. The Act also stipulates the mandatory offer regarding the allocation of a position in terrestrial multiplexer for a broadcaster having a licence for regional television broadcasting. The mandatory offer for a public broadcaster and a broadcaster having a licence for regional television broadcasting shall also apply in the case of allocation of a terrestrial multiplex within a broadcast band.

The Act prohibits the financial interconnection and personnel interconnection between authorised broadcasters and the operator of a terrestrial multiplex and a broadcaster with a nationwide licence. The Act also prohibits the concentration of ownership of operators of several multiplexes, if their signal can be received by more than 50% of all the inhabitants of the Slovak Republic.

The Act stipulates the conditions and procedures governing the transition to TV digital terrestrial broadcasting, which should be completed in the Slovak Republic by 2012.


Chapter published: 15-01-2008

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