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IRIS 2013-4:1/24

Netherlands

Bill Modernising the Media Act 2008

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Rosanne Deen

Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

On 14 February 2013, the Dutch Secretary of Education, Culture and Science, S. Dekker, introduced a bill to amend the Mediawet 2008 (Media Act 2008) in order to “modernise the system of national public broadcasting”. The system should become more compact in the future: in 2016 the public broadcasting service will consist of up to 8 broadcasters, instead of the current 21. The public broadcasting service will be composed of three cooperative broadcasters (AVRO/TROS, VARA/BNN and KRO/NCRV), two task organisations (NOS and NTR) and three independent broadcasters (EO, MAX, VPRO). New aspiring broadcasters can become part of the public broadcasting service as from 2016. Before the start of this new accreditation period, the current aspiring broadcasters, PowNed and WNL, should enter into cooperation with one of the three cooperative broadcasters or one of the three independent broadcasters.

By means of the bill, the Government aims at modernising the public broadcasting service and cutting the budget. Broadcasters will receive in the future a basic budget of 50% to provide a minimum number of hours broadcast. Public broadcasters voluntarily merging, such as AVRO/TROS, VARA/BNN and KRO/NCRV, will be granted twice the basic budget and a merging bonus. Furthermore, the program budget, which is provided by the Board of Directors of the Dutch Public Broadcasting Foundation, will be 50% of the total budget that is available for authorized broadcasters, instead of the current 30%.

In addition, the 2.42 broadcasters that are church denominations and denominations based on spiritual principles, will disappear. They will no longer receive a separate budget from the government for their services. However, the Dutch Secretary of Education, Culture and Science will make arrangements with the Board of Directors of the Dutch Public Broadcasting Foundation on good embedding of ideological programs and the involvement of church denominations.

The amendments of the bill will enter into force with effect from a date to be determined by Royal Decree, which may be determined differently for the various Articles or parts thereof.

References
Voorstel van wet, 14 February 2013, Kamerstuk 33 541 nr. 2 NL
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=16388
 
  Bill to amend the Media Act 2008, 14 February 2013      
Memorie van Toelichting, 14 February 2013, Kamerstuk 33 541 nr. 3 NL
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=16389
 
  Explanatory Memorandum, 14 February 2013, Kamerstuk 33 541 nr. 3