Sunday, February 20, 2005

Feel free to copy, there is no copyright on an Anoneumouse montage. (click on image to enlarge)

Protocol "Public Broadcasting"

I do find myself wondering if the BBC belongs to the British Public? is it sovereign? and how will the British Government resolve the following contradictions

Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe

27. PROTOCOL ON THE SYSTEM OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING IN THE MEMBER STATES THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES, CONSIDERING that the system of public broadcasting in the Member States is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and to the need to preserve media pluralism, HAVE AGREED UPON the following interpretative provisions, which shall be annexeto the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe:

The provisions of the Constitution shall be without prejudice to the competence of Member States to provide for the funding of public service broadcasting insofar as such funding is granted to broadcasting organisations for the fulfilment of the public service remit as conferred, defined and organised by each Member State, and insofar as such funding does not affect trading conditions and competition in the Union to an extent which would be contrary to the common interest, while the realisation of the remit of that public service shall be taken into account.

If one tries to interpret this abortion on the English language, it basically says.

That the public financing through license fees is legal and justified because public broadcasting is directly related to the "democratic, social and cultural needs of each society" and it is an important element to safeguard "pluralism".

On the other hand, it says, that funding of public broadcasting should not "affect trading conditions and competition".

In other words, there should be a "fair balance" which should allow private broadcasters to compete under "fair conditions" (confused, me too).

And at the same time, the protocol says, that, it is a competence, of a sovereign decision of the member state.

Ermmmm, Is it a member state competence or an EU competence? When "trade in services" became a part of the mandate of the "World Trade Organisations (WTO) negotiations on global trade liberalisation. The issue here is, that according to the WTO rules, there should be no national subsidies for the production of goods and services, which would distort competition.

From a US perspective, the European license fee system for broadcasting is interpreted as such a "subsidy" which undermines and blocks the capacity of US broadcasting corporations to enter the European broadcasting market.

The European Union and the European Parliament has made it clear, in their negotiations on a renewed "General Agreement on Trade in Services" (GATS), which also included broadcasting services, they argued in favour of a "cultural exception clause". Such an "exception clause" allows special treatment in certain areas where special "democratic, social and cultural needs of a society" are at stake.

The issue was on the agenda of the failed WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999. The following WTO Development Round of the so-called Doha-Process also included this subject, but it is still to be discussed in detail. The Cancun conference (September 2003), which also failed, was dominated by the issue of free trade in the agrarian sector. But it is only a question of time before issues such as broadcasting and other media and teleservices and trade related issues of intellectual property right (TRIPS) will move further to the centre of the WTO discussion.

At the present time, there is no clear picture, how the controversies can be resolved and how the potential conflicts could be settled. It is also unclear how this potential US-EU conflict will be influenced by other WTO members and special positions of third world countries and the leaders of the G 21 (China, India, Brazil and South Africa) who have not yet made clear statements about their relevant positions.

So my question is, on what basis is the Government developing its current review of the BBC charter.

Also see bbc-bias-or-eu-propaganda



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