Pols argue over TV ownership regs

Dispatch - Peru

LIMA – The Peruvian media industry is divided over new legislation regulating investment and the content of radio and television programming.

Congress passed a law June 3 that would ax the limit on foreign ownership of radio stations or TV networks and allow one owner to control up to 40% of the radio or TV market in any jurisdiction. The law also stipulates that 30% of content must be locally produced and family oriented between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

A second vote, scheduled for June 10 was postponed as lawmakers and the media industry went to battle over foreign ownership.

The National Radio and Television Society, the umbrella group of the major media outlets, supports the legislation as is, arguing that Peru’s TV networks are desperate for fresh investment. The Peruvian Media Council and National Consumer Assn., oppose the law, arguing that most countries do not allow 100% foreign ownership of media outlets.

That position has gained ground in Congress, where a number of the 69 lawmakers who voted for the legislation the first time around are having second thoughts. Congress has yet to reschedule a vote on the legislation. President Alejandro Toledo’s administration has urged Congress to limit foreign control to 40%.

“No self-respecting country allows a foreign investor to completely control the broadcast media,” says Rep. Fabiola Morales.