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IRIS 2016-8:1/28


Review of must-carry obligations

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Kevin Aquilina

Department of Media, Communications and Technology Law, Faculty of Laws, University of Malta

On 4 July 2016, the Malta Communications Authority published a consultation document entitled “Review of Must-Carry Obligations”. The aim of this consultation document was to gather feedback from the public on the review of the television broadcast networks subject to must-carry obligations, by 8 August 2016. Currently, must-carry obligations apply only to the sole digital cable television network operator. This is because, in 2013, the cable operator was no longer required to carry analogue television channels on its cable television network. Essentially, what the Malta Communications Authority proposed in its July 2016 consultation document, was to extend must-carry obligations onto the sole fixed-line internet protocol television network which has, since the last review took place, substantially increased its subscribers, as detailed in the consultation document itself.

In Malta, must-carry obligations apply with regard to general interest obligation (GIO) television services. The consultation document states that: “GIOs equate to a public service remit”. This remit is performed primarily by the national public service broadcaster television channels, TVM and TVM 2, and the other public service channel that carries parliamentary sittings, Parliament TV. There is also a number of private commercial television stations which carry public service content in their programming, namely: f Living, Net TV, One TV, Smash TV and Xejk. Each of these eight television channels are categorised in Malta as GIO television channels, which all enjoy a must-carry status. All GIO channels are carried on the GIO network operated by the public service provider, Public Broadcasting Services Ltd., on a free-to-air basis.

Malta Communications Authority, Review of Must-Carry Obligations, MCA/C/16-2611, 4 July 2016 EN