AGCOM fines the Italian public service broadcasters for breach of the service agreement

18 March 2020

By resolution no. 69/20/CONS adopted on 14 February 2020, the Italian Comunications Authority (AGCOM) imposed a fine amounting to 1.5 million Euro to RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana – the national public service broadcaster – for violating the service agreement to the extent it establishes, on one hand, the duties of independence, impartiality and pluralism and, on the other one, the principles of non-discrimination and transparency for the pricing in the sale of advertisement.

The fine has been adopted pursuant to Article 48 of the AVMS Code (Legislative Decree no. 177/2005, Testo unico dei servizi di media audiovisivi) as result of an extensive and regular monitoring carried out by AGCOM for the assessment of the practices adopted by RAI on its three main free-to-air channels, most notably in the context of the broadcast of entertainment and information programs.

In the view of AGCOM, taken overall, these practices seriously undermined citizens’ rights and a variety of societal interests. Additionally, they also negatively impacted the nature as public and social utility of the license fee.

In addition, AGCOM directed an injunction to RAI to bring to an end every practice regarding the sale of advertising, which was found to have been conducted in violation of the principles of non-discrimination and transparency as to the pricing. This way, AGCOM will be able to assess whether the challenged practices also led to a misuse of the public and private resources, consisting respectively of the license fee and the advertising fee collected, by the public service broadcaster.

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