Film, video and photography
The basic legal norm regulating this area is Act No. 343/2007 Coll. on Conditions for Taking Evidence, Public Broadcasting and the Preservation of Audiovisual Works, Multimedia Works and Sound Recordings of Artistic Performances and on the change of and amendment to some laws (Audiovisual Act).
The Act regulates the obligations for production, public broadcasting and evidence-taking of audiovisual works, sound recordings of literary or musical works and multimedia works, the position of an independent producer, the position and activity of the Slovak Institute of Film, conditions governing professional storage of original mediums on which audiovisual works were for the first time recorded, sounds-video recordings and sound recordings forming the audiovisual heritage of the Slovak Republic.
The Act also defines some basic terms used in the audiovisual area, namely a Slovak audiovisual work, cinematographic works, producer of an audiovisual work, distributor of an audiovisual work, dubbing and other terms.
The Act stipulates and especially regulates:
- the obligatory registration of Slovak audiovisual works, Slovak sound recordings and Slovak multimedia works (a list is kept by the Ministry of Culture);
- the record of entities operating in the audio-visual field (a list is kept by the Ministry and data has been collected by the Slovak Institute of Film);
- the allocation of an international standard audiovisual work number (ISAN);
- the classification of audiovisual works, sound recordings and multimedia works from the point of view of their appropriateness for various age groups (unified system of labelling of audiovisual works and TV programmes);
- the obligations which must be fulfilled at public performances of audiovisual works (specification of obligatory data, regulations on language of audiovisual works);
- the advertisements during audiovisual presentations;
- the position, activities , tasks, management, administration and budgetary control of the Slovak Film Institute (the Institute also exercises all rights covering the Slovak audiovisual works which were created before 1991 by state organisation in the audiovisual field);
- the protection of audiovisual heritage (mandatory deposit and optional deposit of Slovak audiovisual works and conditions of performance thereof, the definition of the audiovisual heritage of the Slovak Republic);
- the specification and registration of independent producers in the audiovisual field; and
- bodies and supervision of adherence of the law.
By the Audiovisual Act, the European Convention on the Protection of Audiovisual Heritage and Recommendations of the European Parliament and the Council on film heritage and the competitiveness of related industrial activities were implemented into the legal system of the Slovak Republic.
On the 1st January 2009, the Act No. 516/2008 Coll. on the Audiovisual Fund and the amendment of certain acts came into force by witch the Audiovisual Fund has been created as an independent institution for the support and development of audiovisual culture and industry. The fund provides financial resources from the 1st January 2010 for the whole spectrum of activities connected with the development, production and distribution of audiovisual works. In 2010 the Audiovisual Fund supported 265 applications for 140 different subjects in the amount of 6.9 million EUR.
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.