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Europe and international

Regulation of the foreign chains

Europe and international

European chains

Pursuant to the provisions of article 43-7 of the law of September 30th, 1986, the European television services, since they are established in a state covered by European directive 2010/13/UE, said Services of audio-visual mediums (SMA) [1], or by European convention on the transborder television of May 5th, 1989 [2], “can be diffused by the networks not using frequencies allotted by the Superior council of audio-visual [telegraphic distribution - cable, ADSL, optical fiber… - or direct reception by satellite] without preliminary formality”.

The television services in question raise each one of the only competence of the European State in which they are established and must respect the applicable audio-visual right in this State, that is to say the minima of the directive if necessary reinforced or detailed at the national level. They can then be freely received in Europe.

For as much, in accordance with the provisions of the directive SMA (article 3) and European convention on transborder television (article 24), articles 43-8 and 43-9 of the law of September 30th, 1986 lay down the conditions - in particular the existence of a serious and reiterated failure - under which the CSA can temporarily suspend the retransmission of the services of television and the services of audio-visual media to the request Europeans. These conditions were specified by the decree n° 2010-1593 of December 17th, 2010.

In addition, the above mentioned law of 1986 envisages, in its article 43-10, the conditions, specified by the same decree, in which the CSA can intervene in the event of skirting (by “delocalization”) of the law of 1986 by a service of television or audio-visual media to the request.

Non-European chains

Legal bases of the competence of France, exerted by the CSA, on the non-European chains

The European directive Services of audio-visual mediums fixes, in its article 2 (point 4), of the criteria in application of which the competence of the Member States [3 ] is given on the television services diffused by satellite in Europe [4].

Pursuant to the law of September 30th, 1986, which transposes these provisions in its article 43-4, within the competence of France the television services fall which are established neither in France nor in any other European State covered by the directive SMA and which, for this diffusion:

  • use an uplink towards a satellite starting from a station located in France;
  • or if, not using an uplink starting from a station located in the above-mentioned European States, use a satellite capacity concerned with France.

Because of the establishment in France of the satellite operator Eutelsat, the Council is led to assume a particularly important role with respect to its European partners in the regulation of the non-European satellite channels. This competence is exerted even if a non-European chain received in Europe is not received on the French territory.

Legal mode applicable to the non-European chains falling within the competence of France

Under article 33-1 (III) of the law of September 30th, 1986, the television services falling within the competence of France pursuant to article 43-4 “can be diffused by the networks not using frequencies assigned by the Superior council of audio-visual without preliminary formality”. It is thus since the modification of the law of 1986 occurred in January 2006 [5], which removed for the non-European chains the obligation to conclude a convention with the CSA.

Above mentioned article 33-1 stresses that the services considered “remain subjected to the obligations [of the law of 1986] and to the control of the CSA, which can in particular use in their connection the procedures envisaged in articles 42,42-1 and 42-10”, that is to say the setting in residence, the sanctions and the sasine of the Council of State in summary procedure.

The non-European chains falling within the competence of France are held to respect the applicable audio-visual right in France.

Practical of the Council

In the practice of the control which he exerts on the non-European chains, the CSA is particularly vigilant with the respect of the obligations related to the great principles fixed at the articles 1st and 15 of the law (prohibition of the incentive to hatred, respect of the human dignity, child welfare…).

In the event of failure noted at the time of the watching of the programs of the chains, the Council can initiate a procedure aiming at putting an end to the failure addressed to the editors of the television services, when they are known, or to the French satellite operators who ensure the diffusion in Europe of these services.

According to the gravity of the noted failure and its possible persistence, the procedures initiated by the Council take the following forms: mail of warning statement, formal notice to inform the chain of the mode which is applicable for him, formal notice to cease the diffusion of the problematic contents, formal notice to cease the diffusion of the chain, sasine of the Council of State so that it orders in summary procedure the suspension of the diffusion of the chain by an operator

[1] 27 Member States of the European Union as well as the three following States parts with the agreement on the European Economic Area: Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

[2] European Convention on transborder television covers, in addition to the 21 States covered by the directive SMA, the 10 following States not covered by this text: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine.

[3] Or, if necessary, that of the 3 other States covered by directive SMA: Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

[4] Provided this satellite diffusion allows a direct reception by the public by means of standard equipment (either a satellite dish of less than 1 meter diameter).

[5] Law n° 2006-64 of January 23rd, 2006.

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