Amendments to the legislation regarding the procedures applicable to the grant, amendment, extension and transfer of licences and audiovisual authorisations

In June 2013, the National Audiovisual Council (“NAC”) issued Decision 277/2013 regarding the procedure to the grant, amendment, extension and transfer of licences and audiovisual authorisations (“Decision 277/2013”), which revokes Decision 488/2010.
Decision 277/2013 introduces a series of amendments, the most relevant of which are outlined below:

  • Additional documents have to be submitted in order to obtain an audiovisual licence, such as the editorial strategy for the validity period of the audiovisual licence and the applicant’s fiscal certificate.
  • In relation to the application for an audiovisual licence, NAC has to observe a 5-day period from the date of submission of the application to verify it; the same period applies with regard to the verification of applications for authorisations.
  • The term in which NAC has to decide whether or not to grant an authorisation was extended from 15 days to 30 days from the date of the submission of the application. 
  • The term in which the application for the extension of the audiovisual licence must be submitted to NAC is extended from minimum 15 days to minimum 30 days before the expiry of the validity of the licence.
  • In case of a new licence, radiobroadcasters have to notify NAC in writing about the scheduled date of commencing the broadcast of the program service at least 24 hours prior to such date.
  • When granting an audiovisual licence or extending the validity of an audiovisual licence, NAC will take into account the operation of the licences held by the applicant and those held by the shareholders of the applicant.
  • A new restriction was introduced which prohibits any changes to the audiovisual licence for a period of 1 year from the date of the commencement of the broadcast of the program service, the date when the validity of the licence was extended or the date when the licence was transferred, as the case may be. 
  • The procedure for the transfer of an audiovisual licence is now expressly regulated, along with the documentation which has to be submitted in such a case. Also, Decision 277/2013 expressly provides that a licence can only be transferred if the new holder assumes all the obligations arising from that licence.

Update: Decision 277/2013 has been recently amended by Decision no. 614/2013, published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 693 on 13 November 2013 (“Decision 614/2013”).
The amendments primarily concern the procedures for obtaining and extending an audiovisual licence and are summarised as follows:

  • Decision no. 614/2013 expressly provides for the right of the applicant to complete or remedy any inconsistencies in the application submitted in view of obtaining an audiovisual licence. This decision also creates the requirement for the authority to notify the applicant about the necessary documents to be submitted, the conditions for their submission and the time period in which such submission(s) must be made. Failure to comply with the conditions and terms specified by the authority shall result in an audiovisual licence being denied.
  • The above-mentioned provisions concerning the possibility to complete or remedy the inconsistencies in the application submitted in view of obtaining a licence are also applicable to an application submitted for the extension of a licence. The main difference between the two lies in the fact that, for the latter, a term of minimum 15 days prior to the expiry date of the validity of the licence must be observed for completing/remedying the application, whilst no such term exists for the former.
  •  Also, Decision no. 614/2013 brings two further amendments relating to the procedure for the extension of audiovisual licences:
  • Those applying for an extension of an audiovisual licence now have to submit the application with a minimum of 60 days (as opposed to a minimum of 30 days) prior to the expiry of the validity of the licence;
  • NAC must come to a decision as to whether to extend a licence or not at least 10 days before the expiry of the licence.