Ministry of Transport and Communications working group continues preparations for waiving the must-carry obligation for radio programmes
On 15 November 2022, the Ministry of Transport and Communications published a summary of the comments on the draft government proposal on amending the Act on Electronic Communications Services with regard to the must-carry obligation for radio programmes. The proposal will not be submitted to Parliament during this government term, but its preparation will continue in the working group of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
According to the proposal, the Act on Electronic Communications Services would be amended so that the must-carry obligation for radio programmes be waived. The must-carry obligation for television programmes would remain unchanged. No extensions are proposed to the obligation.
In addition, a provision would be incorporated in the Act on Electronic Communications Services on the revocation of a radio licence if the applicant is found guilty of ethnic agitation or endangers national security, for example.
The objective of the legislative proposal is to amend the national regulation to meet the requirements regarding the must-carry obligations in the telecommunications directive and to allow the telecommunications operators to use the network more efficiently as they could provide faster connections in cable broadband, for example.
The current must-carry obligation requires telecom operators providing cable television network services to transmit television and radio programmes of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE in their networks. In addition, it obliges the administrators of joint antenna networks, such as housing companies, to ensure that the YLE television and radio broadcasts are available in their systems.
Comments call for further impact assessments of the act
The draft government proposal on the waiving of the must-carry obligation for radio programmes was on a consultation round from 5 September to 2 October 2022. A total of 18 statements were submitted to the Ministry.
The commentators welcomed the proposal that the radio licence could be revoked if the licence applicant is found guilty of certain offences.
Some supported the waiving of the must-carry obligation on radio programmes stating that it would allow more efficient use of the networks.
Some considered the current obligation to be good and were not in favour of waiving the must-carry obligation for radio programmes.
Some of the comments raised concerns about the impact of the act on special groups, such as persons with visual impairment, for whom spoken communications is important. Another cause for concern were users who might not be able to start using antenna or internet radio.
The comments called for further clarification of the impacts of the draft act. Assessments were requested, for example, on the impact that the proposal would have on the accessibility of services for special groups and on the transmission of aerial surveillance reports in joint antenna systems.
Also differing views were expressed on the effects that the waiving of the must-carry obligation would have on the transmission of emergency alerts.
Preparations will continue in the working group under the leadership of the Ministry of Transport and Communications
The government proposal will not proceed to Parliament during this government term, but the preparatory work will continue. The Ministry of Transport and Communications will set up a working group to further examine in spring 2023, together with other ministries, what the effects of the waiving of the must-carry obligation on radio programmes would be.
The preparatory work on the proposal will continue in the working group.
According to the telecommunications directive, it must be reviewed at least every five years that the must-carry obligation is up to date. The next review will take place between 2026 and 2027.
Roosa Patrakka, Senior Officer, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. + 358 50 431 7036
Aino Sipari, Director of Unit, aino.sipari(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 326 5829
Jarkko Saarimäki, Director-General, jarkko.saarimaki(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 40 836 0397
- Press release, 5 September 2022: Government proposes to waive must-carry obligation for radio programming, comments invited on the proposal
- Press release, 22 June 2022: Amendment proposed to the must-carry obligation for radio programming
- Press release, 20 April 2022: Summary of comments on memorandum about must-carry obligation on television and radio channels
- Press release, 10 March 2022: Comments invited on memorandum on must-carry obligation of television and radio channels