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IRIS 2011-5:1/37


Media Regulatory Body: Elections Suspended

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Mariana Lameiras & Helena Sousa

Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho

On 2 March 2011, the Parliamentary Commission on Ethics, Society and Culture (13ª Commissão de Ética, Sociedade e Cultura) approved the Social Democrats' request to conduct several hearings in order to evaluate the experience of media regulation in Portugal. Following the ending of the current Regulatory Council’s mandate of the Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social (media regulatory authority - ERC), the request seeks to organize hearings of several representatives of the media sector regarding the five years’ mandate. This situation further delays the appointment of the members of the next Regulatory Council, whose election was already scheduled in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic for 11 March 2011.

Among the hearings requested by the Social Democratic Party (Partido Social Democrata - PSD) are those of ERC’s President, Azeredo Lopes, of the Portuguese Press Association’s President, João Palmeiro, and of the private broadcasters’ administrators (SIC and TVI), as well as of those of the television public service broadcaster (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal - RTP). The Socialist Party (Partido Socialista - PS) also proposed the hearing of MEP and author of studies in the public regulation area, Vital Moreira.

Having been appoved by the Commission, the election will have to wait until hearings are conducted and both Socialists and Social Democrats propose a list of names for the collegial body. As stated in Article 15 of Law no. 53/2005 (Lei n.º 53/2005 de 8 de Novembro), which created the ERC, the Portuguese Assembly appoints four members of the Regulatory Council by resolution, the fifth member being decided upon by the others.

Another recent development in the political sphere might further complicate this process. The Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, submitted his resignation from his position to the President of the Republic on 23 March 2011.

Agenda da reunião ordinária da 13ª Comissão de Ética, Sociedade e Cultura PT
  Agenda of the ordinary meeting of the Parliamentary Commission on Ethics Society and Culture