The text will now be published in the BOE without changes in the controversial definition of independent producer
The plenary session of the Senate has given the green light this Wednesday without any changes, to the project of General Law of Audiovisual Communicationwhich has been processed by the urgent procedure, so this rule is definitively approved and will come into force with its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE).
In this way, the majority of the Upper House has approved the text that came from the Congress of Deputies and has decided not to include any amendments from the proponent groups. The text has gone ahead thanks to the support of the PSOE and the PNV and the abstention of the PP, as was already the case in the process in committee. Instead, it has provoked the rejection of ERC, VOX, Más Madrid, Junts per Cataluña, Geroa Bai and EH Bildu, who are highly critical of the refusal to introduce changes in the Senate.
In her speech, the ‘popular’ senator Esther Basilia del Brío justified her group’s abstention “because the sector asks for it”. “In the end, the sector prefers a bad, fast law, rather than a vacuum. That is the luck that this government often has when it comes to getting its projects out. But bad luck is going to be for the sector, for the authors, the producers, the technicians, the scriptwriters“, he pointed out.
The spokesman for the Basque Parliamentary Group, Luis Uribe-Etxebarría, has explained his support for the bill as it is “remarkably better” than the one that came out of the Council of Ministers thanks to the agreement reached with the PNV, something that has not been enough for ERC, which had also agreed with the socialists on measures to protect the co-official languages of the State.
12 particular votes have been taken to the Plenary of the Upper House, since the opinion of the bill was approved last week in the Commission on Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation without debating and voting on any of the 288 amendments presented by political formations such as VOX , Junts per Cataluña, Compromís, Geroa Bai, Más País, MÉS per Mallorca, EH Bildu and ERC. The rejection of the amendments presented, including those that sought to modify the controversial definition of independent production, has provoked criticism from numerous spokespersons.
For its part, the PSOE has justified its rejection of the more than 280 amendments through its spokesperson on the matter, Olivia Delgado, who has indicated that “in no case is it about applying any roller” and that they have “more than shown” that they put “dialogue and consensus” first to improve the laws, but in this case “the law, as it is, is a good law and is the result of permanent dialogue”.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW
The standard includes some general principles applicable to the entire audiovisual field: human dignity; the protection of users regarding content that violates the dignity of women; the obligation to convey a respectful and appreciative image of people with disabilities; the promotion of the existing linguistic pluralism in Spain; and the veracity of the information. Likewise, the Law promotes self-regulation and co-regulation in the audiovisual field.
In relation to the protection of minors, the Law requires all providers to provide information on the content that may be harmful to them through age rating systems and those programs whose rating is ‘not recommended for children under 18 years’ will have to broadcast between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Among other issues, the rule relaxes the limits of advertising in linear television services (open and paid) in accordance with the provisions of the European directive. Thus, it goes from a limit of 12 minutes per hour to a maximum limit of 144 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and to a maximum limit of 72 minutes between 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
Regarding the promotion of European audiovisual works, linear television audiovisual communication service providers are obliged to reserve at least 51% of the broadcast time for European audiovisual works. Of this percentage, 50% is reserved for works in the official language of the State or in one of the official languages of the autonomous communities. Of this subquota, RTVE will reserve a minimum of 15% for audiovisual works in any of the official languages of the autonomous communities, taking into account the population and reserving 10% for each one.
In the case of television audiovisual communication service providers on request, they must reserve 30% of their catalog for European works. Half (15%) must be works in official languages in Spain and, of that subquota, 40% must be audiovisual works in one of the official languages of the communities, taking into account the population and reserving at least 10 % for each of them.
On the other hand, with regard to the advance financing of the European audiovisual work, an exception is established to the principle of country of origin, since any television audiovisual communication service provider that offers its service in Spain must contribute to the advance financing of European audiovisual works.
The obligated operators will have to allocate 3.5% to audiovisual work in any format, which must be carried out in the official language of the State or in one of the co-official languages, compared to the current 0.9%; and on the other hand, allocate 2% to financing films by independent producers, which must also be carried out in the official language of the State or in one of the co-official languages, compared to the current 1.8%.
It has not been modified finally the controversial definition of independent producer and that provoked the rejection of numerous professionals and associations of producers the world of film and television. The independent production sector even took its claims to the Cannes Festival and does not rule out going to Brussels with its claims.
The legislative text establishes that RTVE’s financing is carried out with contributions from all the agents present in the audiovisual market that compete for the same audience: open linear television; linear pay television; video on demand providers; and video sharing platforms.
Finally, this contribution must be made by providers established in Spain, as well as those who are in another country of the European Union, provided that they offer their services in Spain. Likewise, the direct contribution made by telecommunications operators for the part of their business that does not correspond to audiovisual activity is eliminated.