The radio broadcasting sector has asked the Andalusian Government to suspend the urgent approval of a Decree-Law that contemplates, among many other liberalizing measures, the privatization of municipal radio stations and allows institutional and commercial advertising in illegal ones. This has been made known in a letter by the Spanish Association of Commercial Broadcasting (AERC) in which it expresses its discomfort at the consequences of a norm that they denounce as “contrary to basic state legislation” and “dynamite legal security” of the sector.

The commercial radios are the first to have counterattacked the Decree-Law that liberalizes the Andalusian production model, which the Board approved on March 9 and which the Permanent Deputation of the regional Parliament plans to validate this Thursday, and which modifies or repeals up to 21 laws that affect the environmental, commercial or urban planning, among others. In the audiovisual section, where the Municipalities used to manage municipal radio or television, now a third party may do so.

The AERC considers that this regulatory change supposes the “derogation of the previous autonomous legal framework by which municipal radio stations were regulated, which had direct management prohibited” and warns that with the new provisions “hundreds of radio stations in the market would become managed without the protection to the concurrence and suitability that guarantees the state legislation ”. The association also denounces that, if the Decree-Law goes ahead, it will generate “discriminatory treatment between radio operators and between state territories.”

Business radio broadcasting entrepreneurs are surprised by the change in attitude of the Andalusian Government with the network of illegal radio stations – more than 400 in that territory – and calls on the regional government to maintain the ban on the emission of institutional and commercial advertising in illegal stations, currently in force, and to proceed to the closure of all these pirate radios. The AERC’s request goes along the lines that a week ago the Andalusian President, Juan Manuel Moreno, the Association of Andalusian Municipal Broadcasters, already transferred.

The AERC urges Andalusian and state-level parliamentary groups to “take as many actions as appropriate” to avoid consuming the liberalizing measures in the audiovisual field contemplated by the royal decree. Along these lines, the PSOE plans to send a letter to President Moreno tomorrow signed not only by press associations, but by many other sectors that are affected by the regulations.

Several constitutionalists consulted consider that the validation of the decree-law by the Mesa could lead to nullity. If approved, the norm will become law and the only way to obtain its invalidity would be to go to the Constitutional Court, for which the signature of 50 deputies or 50 senators would be necessary.

The AERC is not only questioning the substance, but also the forms adopted by the Andalusian Government to carry out the modification of the audiovisual sector. Legal sources close to the association consider that it does not make sense to go to the emergency procedure or appeal to the coronavirus crisis – which is alluded to in the explanatory memorandum of the Royal Decree text to justify this urgent nature – to change the regime of municipal radio stations and draw attention to the fact that the Andalusian Audiovisual Law was approved in October 2018, to question the immediate need for correction by the Board.