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The Czech Republic

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion COM(97) 2009 final [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(98) 708 final [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(1999) 503 final [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(2000) 703 final [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1746 [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1402 [Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Monitoring Report COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1200 [Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission concluded that the Czech Republic would have to make a major effort to adapt both the regulatory framework and industry structures if it was to meet EC requirements in the audiovisual sector in the medium term.

The November 1998 Report endorsed this assessment and noted the lack of progress in this area.

The October 1999 Report recorded no major change and stated that no legislative progress had been made in the audiovisual sector.

The November 2000 Report noted that the Czech Republic had made only limited progress.

The November 2001 Report underlined the major efforts made by the Czech Republic in the audiovisual sector. However, further progress still had to be made.

The October 2002 Report noted that there had been no major developments in the audiovisual sector since the last report.

The November 2003 Report concludes that the Czech Republic fulfils the majority of the accession criteria in the field of audiovisual policy.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

In the context of the internal market, the audiovisual acquis is intended to ensure the provision and free movement of audiovisual services within the EU as well as the promotion of the European programme industry. The acquis is contained in the " Television without frontiers " Directive, which is applicable to all broadcasters regardless of mode of transmission (terrestrial, satellite, cable) or whether private or public, and lays down basic rules concerning transfrontier broadcasting. The main points are:

  • to ensure the free movement of television broadcasts throughout Member States;
  • to promote the production and distribution of European audiovisual products (by laying down a minimum proportion of broadcasting time for European products and those by independent producers);
  • to set basic standards for television advertising;
  • to provide for the protection of minors and allow the right of reply.

The European Association Agreement provides for cooperation in the promotion and modernisation of the audiovisual industry, and the harmonisation of regulatory aspects of audiovisual policy.

The "Television without frontiers" Directives is one of the measures to be adopted by the CEECs under Stage I of the White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the internal market of the Union (1995).

EVALUATION

Czech audiovisual legislation is not compatible with EC requirements, particularly the " Television without frontiers " Directive. The Czech Republic has adopted a Press Act which lays down the right to reply. The Radio and Television Broadcasting Act, which came into force in July 2001, brought the Czech Republic's legislation largely into line with the audiovisual acquis, although some refinement is still necessary, in particular regarding the technical adjustment of the subsidiary criteria. There has been some development of administrative capacity at the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting. Its budget has been increased and computerisation of its administration should allow the establishment of a system for monitoring the promotion of European works. Furthermore, an Act on advertising regulation in force since June 2002 specifies the responsibilities of the Council as regards the supervision of advertising.
According to the Czech authorities, current indications suggest that all national television broadcasters will meet their 2002 obligations for the promotion of European and independent works.
However, the Commission notes in its 2002 Report that the previous year was characterised by a lack of transparency and stability in relation to questions of ownership and control of commercial TV stations. This situation has led to a second dispute which may have to be solved by international arbitration courts.

In May 1999, the Czech Republic signed the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television, as amended by the Protocol of September 1998. It is encouraged to ratify the Convention.

Since January 2003 the Czech Republic has been receiving funding from the Community programmes MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training for the development, distribution and promotion of Czech works and for training activities.

Changes in the Czech Republic's legislation in 2003 were sufficient to bring it largely into line with the Community acquis in the field of audiovisual policy. However, technical changes to the broadcasting act are still needed, particularly in relation to the secondary criteria for determining jurisdiction. The new broadcasting council should also focus on setting up a regulatory framework that is stable, transparent and effective.

In the field of culture, the "Concept for Cultural Policy in the Czech Republic" adopted by the government in 1999 aims to take account of European principles and to ensure the involvement of the Czech Republic in European culture structures.
The Association Council decision allowing the Czech Republic to participate fully in the Culture 2000 programme as from 2002 was adopted in October 2001. Since then, implementation of the "Concept for Cultural Policy" has continued, and elements of it have been amended, consolidated and transposed through the Government's "Culture Policy Paper". Finally, an Act on the protection of museums and collections entered into force in July 2000.

In 2003 the Commission Report notes that the Czech Republic fulfils the requirements for participation in Community cultural activities.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 15.01.2004
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