Is the North Korean television model a template for legislators? Appeal of Entrepreneurship Council

Appeal of the Entrepreneurship Council on the government draft law: Introductory Provisions of the Law - Electronic Communications Law

The Entrepreneurship Council notes with deep concern that under the guise of introducing the EU Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code, the government is trying to push through solutions that violate media pluralism, the principles of fair competition and the interests of consumers, which contradicts the objectives of the Directive.

The planned solutions provide for the division of TV channels into two lists: a statutory list, which will obligatorily include five channels broadcast by the Polish Television, and a supplementary list, which will include TV channels designated by the National Broadcasting Council by decree. At the same time, commercial television channels will be removed from the existing mandatory list. Such a procedure for the KRRiT to designate channels on the supplementary list does not meet the requirements of EU law - among other things, because it does not contain clear, objective and impartial criteria. This raises serious concerns about the discretionary nature of the KRRiT's decision.

It should be stressed that the very way the new solutions are proceded violates the principles of good legislation. They were added only in the bill sent to the Parliament, which blocked the possibility of public consultations. This is all the more galling because the regulations being prepared have a huge impact on both the media industry and millions of TV viewers. Such solutions require extensive consultations and a thorough analysis that takes into account prevailing economic and technological realities and technological realities. At this stage, the costs for businesses to adapt to the proposed solutions have not been estimated. Moreover, the drafters have not taken into account existing technological limitations or the need to make changes to information systems and the process of renegotiating existing license agreements already concluded by broadcasters and operators.

Our exceptional outrage is caused by the fact that the proposed regulations are not dictated by any public interest. They only serve to increase the exposure of the Polish Television's channels. 

The division into two lists of channels, the mandatory list containing only channels broadcast by public television, the statutory assignment of initial buttons on the television remote control to these channels, the introduction of an obligation to provide television services separately from the provision of Internet access service, or the obligation of broadcasters and operators to sell television channels in an a la carte model - all of these violate the principles of fair competition and blatantly discriminate against commercial stations.  The new a la carte system threatens pluralism by marginalizing niche channels with low viewership, which have so far been offered in packages and will now be individually bundled (and therefore priced). In practice, almost no one will opt for them. We will be left with public channels and major broadcasters. Thematic channels, specializing in journalism and tinged with some less popular political views will be de facto excluded from the platforms. 

The Enterprise Council strongly demands the deletion of Article 10 para. 8 and 9 from the government draft law - Introductory Regulations - Electronic Communications Law.

Full appeal is available under this link (in Polish).