TS News - Decree Saves Berlusconi

TELE-satellit News, 29 August 1996

Decree Saves Berlusconi
  ROME, Italy, 96/08/29 (TS) -- The Italian Council of ministers has
yesterday approved a decree which temporarily regulates the rather
complicated Italian broadcasting scene. The previous broadcasting law passed
August 1990 was declared unconstitutional in November 1994, and the
government was given a period of 3 years to pass a new broadcasting bill.

  A draft bill has been presented last month before Parliament, but there is
incertainty when it will be passed. The decree stipulates that the current
broadcasting licenses for nationwide TV stations will be extended till
January 31, 1997, while local TV stations will have a longer period - up
till August 27, 1997.

  This decree has been a god-send for media mogul Silvio Berlusconi who (if
the decree was not announced) would have had to close one of his 3 channels
on the August 27. The Prime Minister Romano Prodi said "We hope to vote on
the new broadcasting bill in the following months and this is the last
extension of the licenses. The decree also takes in account the very
important EU directives on vocal telephony and cable TV".

  Contrary to what was previously announced, it seems the government will
not insist on the reduction of advertising time on TV channels and the
limits on media ownership. These issues will be freely discussed in
Parliament when the draft Broadcasting bill comes up to discussion.

  By: Branislav Pekic

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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