Regulation

Contents
Supervision
Media Act
Download Media Act and Media Decision

Ihe Netherlands has a dual system of public and commercial broadcasting. Commercial broadcasting has been legally permitted in the Netherlands since 1992. The public broadcasting organizations transmit on three television channels, while the commercial broadcasters operate on eight television channels. The Media Act states that the broadcasting organizations themselves are responsible for the form and content of their programs. The government does however also seek to fulfil a number of cultural policy aims in its media policy. This is reflected in the statutory program regulations on cultural content and in the Fund for the Promotion of Cultural Broadcasting (Stimuleringsfonds voor Nederlandse Culturele Omroepproducties).

Supervision

The State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science is charged with the general policy on and supervision of broadcasting. The policy on broadcasting organizations is laid down in the Media Act. Supervision of compliance with the Media Act is delegated to the Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media); three Commissioners who are appointed by Royal Decree for a period of five years lead the Authority. The Authority is based in Hilversum.

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Media Act

The Media Act came into force on 1 January 1988. It sets out the main guidelines for the press and broadcasting. The most recent amendment to the Media Act came into force on 4 March 1999.
An important amendment was effected on 1 February 1998, aimed at professionalising public broadcasting to enable it to compete more effectively with the commercial broadcasting organizations. The Act also strengthened the financial base of the public broadcasting system.

The professionalisation of public broadcasting led to a new organizational structure, led by a Board of Directors. The Board comprises three independent members who are appointed by the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science on the recommendation of a Supervisory Board. The latter is charged with supervision of the main policy lines. The broadcasting organizations are represented on the Supervisory Board and three television network management boards. The network coordinator of each television network is responsible for coordinating the programs on that network. The Board of Directors, with the network management board also having a right of consent appoints the network coordinators. A network editorial team in which program-makers from all broadcasting organizations are represented assists them.

The concessions granted to the public broadcasting organizations in 1995 run out in 2000. A new Concessions Act will have to ensure an appropriate concessions system after that time. The bill to introduce the new Concessions Act states that public broadcasting in the next century will be more accessible to new broadcasting organizations. An evaluation procedure will be carried out every five years to decide whether or not the new organization can stay in the public system. The broadcasting organizations will no longer receive individual concessions. Instead, a single concession will be granted covering the entire public broadcasting system. NOS will become the concession-holder and the broadcasting organizations will be participants in the concession. The concession will be accompanied by a task specification, and the community and cultural role to be fulfilled by the public broadcasting system will be described in law for the first time. The broadcasting organizations will be given the scope to make use of new media in fulfilling their broadcasting mandate. To strengthen the non-commercial nature of their activities, it is proposed that sponsoring be permitted in only a limited number of cases.

The bill also provides for a procedure for establishing the channel packaging. NOS will be responsible for this. More flexibility will be created to allow deviation from the present fixed allocation of the broadcasting organizations to one of the three television networks. The bill also tightens up the existing programming regulations. The compulsory percentage of informative and cultural programming will be increased and the proportion of light entertainment programs per network will be restricted to 25 per cent of programming.
The function of the Board of Directors will also be strengthened; it will have the power to use a larger portion of the program budget for strengthening programs.

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Download Media Act and Media Decision

If you want to read the whole Media Act as well as the Media Decision, download them now. Unfortunately it is in Dutch, the English version will be available soon

Media Act (58Kb Zip File)
Media Decision (20Kb Zip File)

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