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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Report COM(1999) 69 final [Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report COM(1999) 508 final [Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report COM(2000) 708 final [Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1751 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1407 [Not published in the Official Journal]

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


Malta's broadcasting legislation is broadly in line with the audiovisual acquis. It is based essentially on the 1991 Broadcasting Act. Some effort will be needed to eliminate discrepancies which have emerged between national legislation and Community laws since 1997, as a result of amendments to the acquis.

The October 1999 Report stated that Malta had made no progress in adapting its legislation to the requirements of the Television Without Frontiers Directive.

The November 2000 Report noted that significant progress had been made since the last report.

The November 2001 Report noted that Maltese legislation in the audiovisual sector was largely in line with the acquis. Little progress had been made in the area of culture.

The October 2002 Report noted that the audiovisual and cultural fields had continued to develop since the last report, but that no specific progress had been recorded.

The November 2003 Report confirmed that Malta has met the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations as regards culture and audiovisual policy.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


In the context of the internal market, the audiovisual acquis is intended to ensure the provision and free movement of audiovisual services within the EU as well as the promotion of the European programme industry. The acquis is contained in the Television Without Frontiers Directive, which is applicable to all broadcasters regardless of mode of transmission (terrestrial, satellite, cable) or whether private or public, and lays down basic rules concerning transfrontier broadcasting. The main aims are:

  • to ensure the free movement of television broadcasts throughout Member States;
  • to promote the production and distribution of European audiovisual products (by laying down a minimum proportion of broadcasting time for European works and those by independent producers);
  • to set basic standards for television advertising;
  • to provide for the protection of minors and allow the right of reply.


Malta's broadcasting legislation, based on the 1991 Broadcasting Act, is broadly in line with the audiovisual acquis. Some discrepancies remain, in particular with respect to the measures for the promotion of European and independent works and the 1997 amendments to the acquis. Malta must therefore make an effort to bring its legislation into line in these areas.

The television broadcasting sector has expanded in recent times with the licensing of two private-sector broadcasters in 1997. In 1998, there were five national television channels, two of which transmit exclusively on cable, and one cable television service offering 52 channels.

Implementation and enforcement of the existing legislation/license conditions are the responsibility of the Maltese Broadcasting Authority.

In June 2000 the Maltese Parliament adopted an Amendment to the Broadcasting Act of 1991 to bring it into line with the Community acquis. Implementing regulations will have to be adopted concerning jurisdiction, promotion of European and independent works, protection of minors and advertising rules. The Maltese authorities have also provided assurances that Malta's commitments under the WTO/GATS will not pose obstacles to alignment to the Community acquis. Malta's administrative structures seem adequate with regard to implementation of the acquis in the cultural and audiovisual fields.

In 2001, following the adoption of the Broadcasting Act, Malta brought its legislation into line with the Television Without Frontiers Directive, the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television and the amending Protocol which it signed in October 2000. Malta has therefore largely brought itself into line with the Community acquis in the field of culture.

The Maltese broadcasting authority published in October 2001 the list of major events to which viewer access would be ensured, in line with the powers conferred by the radio and broadcasting (jurisdiction and European co-operation) regulations of 2000.

In the field of culture, the Cultural Heritage Act, the aim of which is to strengthen executive and operational capacity in the sector, was passed by the Parliament in April 2002. The Maltese Government also took measures to participate in the Culture 2000 programme from 2003 onwards.

The recommendations on national cultural policy were presented in a white paper and have been implemented since 2001. However, Malta has not yet adopted its national strategy and must reinforce its decision-making and management capacity in the field of cultural heritage.

Finally, the Commission's 2003 Report concludes that Malta has met the requirements arising from the accession negotiations as regards audiovisual policy and culture.

Last updated: 13.01.2004