The disparity and lack of transparency in the sale of advertising was also identified.
The Communications Authority (AGCOM) has accused RAI (as the state broadcasting company) of several serious violations of the principles of independence, impartiality, pluralism and completeness in the matter of information and non-discrimination and transparency in the sale of advertising. As a result the Authority has fined the company 1.5 million euro and warned it to establish correct management of the sale of advertising.
The violations concern the news and some in-depth programs broadcast on the three general networks during which these principles required by the “service contract” governing the concession were violated. The fine was issued on February 14th 2020 and is the highest ever imposed on RAI.
The Authority has also warned the public broadcaster to eliminate, in the 2018-2022 service contract, the violations and the effects identified, and to adopt specific measures aimed at ensuring compliance with the obligations and the avoidance of a repetition of the violations in the future, recalling the importance of the broadcaster’s public editorial responsibility.
“In the supervision of the public service mission – Agcom specified – it is not the individual cases, on which the company has often implemented restorative or corrective actions, to be highlighted but rather the effect that this behaviour has had and could have on community values and citizens’ rights, as well as on the perceived value of public and social utility of the licence fee”.
“The presence within the news service of the public broadcaster of partial, incomplete, non-objective information or information lacking the requirement of pluralism – affirms AGCOM – is in clear contrast with the objectives and mission of a public broadcasting service – as well as with the commitments undertaken by the broadcaster at the time of signing the Contract with the state”.
ADVERTISING – The Authority also identified the failure to comply with the principles of non-discrimination and transparency in relation to the pricing actually applied by the broadcaster in the sale of advertising. Consequently, AGCOM warned RAI to immediately cease the irregular practice also in order to enable AGCOM to verify the correct use of public (licence) and private (advertising) resources to finance activities and public service programming by the public broadcasting service.
In particular, with regard to numerous incidents concerning the programming broadcast by the three general networks, the Authority found that RAI failed to comply with the principles of independence, impartiality and pluralism and imposed a financial penalty of 1.5 million euro. AGCOM stated in a declaration that it has also found there was a failure to comply with the principles of non-discrimination and transparency, in relation to the pricing applied, by RAI in the sale of advertising.