Thursday

14th Nov 2019

German state TV accused of breaking EU rules

Germany’s private sector broadcasters have filed a complaint to the European Commission’s watchdog accusing the state-owned television groups ARD and ZDF of breaching EU competition rules.

The Commission's decision on the case could have an impact in other EU countries, such as Italy and the UK, where public broadcasters are also involved in commercial activities, reported the Financial Times.

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Germany's federation of private-sector broadcasters and telecommunications companies VPRT, alleged in the complaint that ARD and ZDF have been benefiting from hidden state aid and have breached competition regulations by cross-subsidising online ventures with revenue from licence fees.

This practice has been helped by Germany's failure to incorporate into national law the so-called transparency directive requiring companies to keep separate accounts for commercial and non-commercial operations.

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