Austria mulls TV regs

VIENNA — After years of foot-dragging, Austria is finally going to open its door to private TV.

But when the new regulations on private TV head to Parliament for final approval, probably in late March, they will cover only cable and satellite TV. Private terrestrial TV is still at least a couple of years away.

Originally intended to address only cable TV, the law hit a snag when one of the political parties pressed for sat-ellite TV regulations as well.

Michael Kogler, spokesman for the Dept. for Media Affairs, said that the draft of the law contains the following regulations:

Non-European Union ownership will be limited to 25%, with no minimum requirement for Austrian ownership. Newspaper owners and TV broadcasters are restricted to 26% of shares.

Content regulations will follow the EU directive on TV, which includes bans on pornography and incitement to hatred on religious, racial or national grounds. Further, broadcasters will be responsible for reflecting the opinions of all groups (e.g. political, ethnic) in the region.

Advertising and teleshopping will be limited to 20% of daily and hourly programming.

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