Mediawet 2008 (Dutch Media Act)

Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 
In the Netherlands, the policy is aimed at ensuring that everyone should have equal access to a varied and reliable range of information in all kinds of areas. It enables citizens to make use of the rights they have in a democratic society. We consider it important that all voices in society are addressed and that is why we have a unique public broadcaster with broadcasters that represent currents in society. This contributes to a multiform media that reflects the diversity of society. Media policy is aimed at a healthy and competitive media market and audiovisual industry, based on the principle of free and independent media and the absence of censorship. Media policy also ensures a safe haven for children, where they can find reliable and varied information and educational offerings. We have a dual system in which the public broadcaster has an important social role, but there is also sufficient room for commercial providers. Government interference in free media is undesirable and we therefore have an independent regulator of the media. The Dutch Media Act 2008 sets requirements for both public and commercial broadcasters. Rules for public channels The role of public broadcasters is to provide news, educational and children’s programmes as well as to make programmes about politics and sport. They also cover special events such as days of national celebration and remembrance. Programmes on the public channels should reflect the diversity of society. To achieve these aims, public broadcasters receive central government grants. Advertising is allowed on the public channels, but not as often as on commercial channels. Programmes on the public channels may not be interrupted for commercial breaks. Sponsoring is limited to, for example, arts and sports programmes. Stichting Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (The Netherlands Public Broadcasting, NPO), together with selected public broadcasters, is responsible for the programmes on the public system. Broadcasting associations must meet certain conditions to get airtime. For example, they must have at least 50,000 members. And their goal must be to make programmes that reflect their mission. Rules for commercial broadcasters Commercial broadcasters do not receive money from central government. So fewer rules apply to them. Yet, the Media Act does set a number of requirements for commercial broadcasters and their programmes. Sponsoring of news and current events programmes is prohibited. Commercial broadcasters also have to keep to the rules on the protection of children. The Dutch Media Authority checks that commercial broadcasters obey these rules. Broadcasters – both public and commercial – are prohibited from broadcasting programmes that are harmful to young people under the age of 16. Is a programme less suitable for young viewers? Then it may not be broadcast before a certain time. Programmes rated as suitable for viewers from the age of 12 may be broadcast from 8PM. Those only suitable for viewers aged 16 and over may be broadcast from 10PM to 6AM. Journalists and programme makers are free to write, publish and broadcast what they wish. Central government does not interfere with content. The government may never check content in advance. This is laid down in both the Constitution and the Media Act.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 
A diverse and regulated audiovisual media landschape.
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 
Total Media Expenditure for period 17-20: USD 1.235.548.709 per year (EUR per year) - 77% national public broadcasters; - 14% regional public broadcasters; - 9% other media related expenditures)
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
The Netherlands Public Broadcasting (NPO)
Public Sector
Regional public broadcasters
Public Sector
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)