[03/10] Consultation Document on the Eligibility Criteria for GIO (23/03/2010)

Press Release 03/10


Consultation Document on the Eligibility Criteria 
for the Classification of Broadcasters that fulfil General Interest Objectives


The Broadcasting Authority is publishing a Public Consultation Document on the eligibility criteria to be used when assigning television licenses to broadcasters who will fulfil General Interest Objectives for free-to-air terrestrial digital broadcasts.

Following the publication by the Broadcasting Authority and the Malta Communications Authority in September 2007 of the public consultation document Making Digital Broadcasting Accessible to All – A Policy and Strategy for Digital Broadcasting that meets General Interest Objectives, a number of submissions had been received.  These included a joint response from all the local analogue television broadcasters as well as separate responses from the two local broadcast television network operators.

In February 2009, following an evaluation of these responses as well as additional considerations, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications publicly announced the Policy and Strategy that had been adopted by Government for Digital Broadcasting that meets General Interest Objectives.

The Broadcasting Authority is playing a key role in this digital switch-over.  Among its responsibilities the Authority has been charged with the selection process of the stations that will become GIO Channels and carried on the digital multiplex platform operated by PBS Ltd.

The purpose of this latest document now is to conduct a process of consultation on the actual implementation of a particular aspect of this Policy, namely on the eligibility criteria that the Broadcasting Authority proposes to establish for the selection of broadcasters that are deemed fit to fulfil general interest objectives and whose content, therefore, would be entitled to carriage on the proposed GIO network on a free-to-air basis.   

Interested parties who may wish to re-visit in more detail the above-mentioned Government Policy and Strategy are advised to view the relative document issued in February 2009 which is available on the BA website (www.ba-malta.org).

Reactions to the proposals being made in this Consultation Document as well as to the provisions of the Draft Multiplex Licence, a copy of which is attached to this document, are to be submitted by Friday, 23rd April 2010 and should be addressed to the Chief Executive, Broadcasting Authority, 7 Mile End Road, ─Žamrun HMR1719; by e-mail on "anna-maria.buhagiar@ba.org.mt"; or through fax on (+356) 2124 0855.

Mario Axiak
Head Research & Communications
Broadcasting Authority

23rd March 2010