National Broadcasting Council’s response to the Foundation’s request in the matter of awarding licences for multiplex transmissions
In January the Foundation requested to be provided with detailed information on the procedure of awarding television broadcasters with licences to broadcast on the first digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex.
In its reply, the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) said that the procedure was conducted pursuant to the statutory norms and involved a review of the financial position of applicants regarding, in particular, their investment and financing capacity. ‘The KRRiT has undertaken a detailed review of applications with respect to their financial credibility’, reads the reply.
Under the procedure, eleven entities were denied licences to broadcast on the multiplex. Among them were: LUX VERITATIS (broadcaster of the ‘TV Trwam’ religious channel), Mediasat (broadcaster of the ‘Tele5’ programme), Superstacja and Astro (broadcaster of the ‘NEXT HD’ programme). For instance, in justifying its decision to deny the licence to ‘TV Trwam’, the Council raised the financial arguments but gave no explanation as to why the financial credibility of the broadcaster had been disputed. At the same time, licences were granted to several TV market newcomers, whose situation appears to be much more unsure than the financial standing of ‘TV Trwam’, operating since 2003.
In its request submitted to the Council the Foundation highlighted that the financial criteria employed by the KRRiT ought to be based on detailed parameters, such as specific financial sureties which a broadcaster entering the contest procedure should be able to present to prove their eligibility. The KRRiT failed to address this issue in its response.
The Council only noted that the financial criterion was of primary importance in the licensing procedure because the success of the entire project of digitisation of the Polish terrestrial television, which is already behind the original schedule set out for EU member states, is contingent upon the financial liquidity of the entrepreneurs participating in the scheme.
The licensing procedure already attracted interest of the Sejm and Senat permanent committees, before which Jan Dworak, the head of the KRRiT appeared to answer questions. For more information on meetings of both committees visit the website of the Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland.