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IRIS 2019-8:1/10

Cyprus

Amendments for harmonising the Law on Radio and Television Organisations with the AVMS Directive

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Christophoros Christophorou

Expert in Media and Elections

The House of Representatives has adopted a number of amendments to the basic law on Radio and Television Organisations 7(I)/1998 in order to fully harmonise its provisions with the AVMS European Directive. According to the explanatory report attached to the draft of the amended law, the amended sections of the law relate to a variety of issues, with some deemed necessary on the basis of observations made within the framework of "EU Pilot" (an ongoing informal dialogue between the Commission and the EU member states about issues related to potential non-compliance with EU law). The main amendments are as follows:

AVMS providers that use a satellite up-link situated on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus or use satellite capacity appertaining to the Republic come under the jurisdiction of the Republic. The previously-worded relevant section of the law referred to an up-link or satellite capacity that "belonged" to the Republic.

The provision that exempted isolated advertising or teleshopping messages from the general rule of being “readily recognisable and distinguishable from editorial content” has been corrected; under the amended law, the screening of isolated messages must now be the exception to the general rule (not exempted from it entirely).

Bulletins related to the environment may now receive sponsorship, as it was the case with weather forecasts, sports and stock exchange bulletins.

The prohibition of advertising and teleshopping messages relating to medicinal products has been extended to encompass medical treatment.

The obligation of each AVMS provider to make available to other providers material from major events for which it has exclusive rights has been extended, so that the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK) now also receives such material.

Various other sections of the law have been amended by simply reformulating their content without making any changes to their substance.

This is the first amendment of the law since the transition to digital television in Cyprus in July 2011. A draft law aimed at implementing an extensive update of the law in order, as announced officially, to respond to the needs connected to the digital environment in which audiovisual media services operate was sent to the House of Representatives in 2013. It was subsequently withdrawn by the Government for further study, since when there has been no further such initiative. The present amendment is limited in scope and substance.

 

References
Νόμος 53(Ι)2019 που τροποποιεί τους περί Ραδιοφωνικών και Τηλεοπτικών Οργανισμών νόμους του 1998 έως 2018, Ε.Ε. Παρ. Ι(Ι), 12.04.2019, σσ. 346-8 EL
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19604
 
  Act 53(Ι)2019