Pappas stands firm over TV licenses, as gov’t sources suggest a bigger opening

Pappas stands firm over TV licenses, as gov’t sources suggest a bigger opening

Minister of State Nikos Pappas on Thursday appeared confident of the government's shakeup of television licensing procedures, following a question in Parliament by PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos.

Loverdos asked Pappas whether the government is considering changing new regulations that restrict the number of television broadcasting licenses to four and take the responsibility of issuing the licenses away from the National Council for Radio and Television (ERS) to hand it over to another body. His question was referring to concerns expressed by the European Commission.

“The Commission fears that these changes are not in line with requirements of EU law which guarantee the independence of the national telecoms regulator, more specifically its independence from the government,” said European Commission spokesperson Nathalie Vandystadt.

“If you expect us to change policy and return to the previous status quo, under which television stations operated without a license, well, we will not,” Pappas answered.

Media operators have also argued that the legislation violates the Constitution and European law.

The discussion between the two men in Parliament was brief but heated, with Loverdos accusing Pappas of “behaving like a propaganda minister.”

Meanwhile, high-ranking government sources, speaking to reporters during Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's return from an official visit to China, suggested the possibility of more licenses being issued in the future – if a rebound in advertising revenues allows it.

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