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French Broadcasters Accuse CSA of Favoritism

Sirti says the regulator is disproportionately allocating frequencies

France’s broadcast regulation authority CSA has been accused of crafting policies geared to favor large organizations, according to Les In Rocks.

The four major private groups (NRJ Group, Lagardère, RTL Group, Nextradio TV) are being singled out for impeding the digitization process, which saves them from having to share the advertising market with new entrants. They are also being accused of receiving a disproportionate number of radio frequencies from the CSA during Michel Boyon’s presidency.

“We have experienced in recent years a massive and deliberate policy of strengthening major groups,” said Philip Gault, president of Inter-Union of Independent Broadcasters (Sirti), a union comprising 151 independently funded radio and TV stations. “There was no regulation. We ask that the concentration cap limiting analog radio to 150 million people served by the same group, is lowered to 120, ensuring better diversity.”

According to the union, of the 1600 frequencies allocated between 2005 and 2012, about 750 were given to the above four groups in addition to the approximate 100 given to Skyrock. Over that period, the 140 Sirti member radio stations received 366, while the other independents received fewer than 100, and the associative stations were allocated 300.