The BC Refuses to Prolong the Broadcasting License of the TV8 Channel

During the meeting of the Broadcasting Council (BC) held on November 17, the authority refused to prolong the TV8 channel’s broadcasting license for “non-compliance with the program concept.” Four of the five members attending the meeting voted against prolonging the license which expires in February 2024.

The AO Media Alternativa media service provider which owns the TV8 channel requested prolonging the validity of the broadcasting license by filing a request dated November 3. According to the legislation, the BC shall prolong the broadcasting license if the following requirements are cumulatively complied with: the provider filed the application within the stipulated legal terms; they complied with the program concept stipulated by the content of the broadcasting license; they were not sanctioned for serious deviations from the Code of Audiovisual Media Services, as a result of which the BC suspended their license for a term lasting from 30 to 60 days.

During the meeting, the BC member who presented the topic mentioned that TV8 had been previously fined 5 000 lei for non-compliance with the general concept of the audiovisual media service, that the application was filed before the deadline, and that the TV channel had not been previously sanctioned for serious deviations.

“We amended and modified the concept, adapting it to the current realities. (…) We have no purely cultural shows, but we have shows which include some cultural elements. As to promoting the culture of the Republic of Moldova, every time, especially during the holiday season, we have preferred promoting the artists by broadcasting concerts and shows dedicated to traditions and customs. (…) The amount of our own products has always been complied with, and we keep making every effort to increase the percentage of our own products,” Sergiu Niculita, TV8 representative, said.

In her reply, the BC member Tatiana Crestenco emphasized: “When we examined the deviations from the concept, there was quite a large gap in the percentage of audiovisual programs by other producers, your own products, re-broadcast and purchased retransmitted programs, and European audiovisual works. Unfortunately, this gap is very large. I would like to mention that this audiovisual service is also included in the must carry list, which offers it an advantage over the other audiovisual media services, because it is re-broadcast mandatory, free of charge, and is in the top 20 in the list of distributors’ services. Hence, TV8 should be very careful and strictly comply with the concept, and this obligation is derived from the licensing provisions.”

“Your concept was approved in 2019, and there were certain problems related to percentage differences. (…) Unfortunately, it is about the concept, and it is expressly stipulated by the law,” Aneta Gonta, vice-president of the authority, commented.

“We have had a similar situation before, it was about Jurnal TV. You have the right to use the current license until February 2024. We will have to discuss the use of the slot in the Multiplex A,” the BC member Eugeniu Ribca concluded after voting to reject the TV8’s application for prolonging the license.

The Independent Journalism Center clarifies in the Media Lawyer section that this issue is NOT equivalent to withdrawing or suspending the broadcasting license. In case if an application for prolonging the validity of the broadcasting license is rejected by the BC, the respective frequency or channel is offered for licitation after the expiration of the term the license in question was granted for. In other words, the TV channel will be able to “regain” its license later, following a competition.

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