Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 December 1984
at the 378th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals which are their common heritage;

Bearing in mind the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Recalling its commitment to the freedom of expression and the free flow of information and ideas as embodied inter alia in its Declaration of 29 April 1982;

Recalling the principles on television advertising, especially for satellite television, set out in its Recommendation No. R (84) 3 of 23 February 1984;

Recalling its Resolution (74) 26 of 2 July 1974 on the right of reply;

Recalling its Recommendation No. R (84) 17 of 25 September 1984 on equality between women and men in the media;

Taking into account the independence of service providers in matters of programme content and the freedom of artistic expression of programme makers;

Bearing in mind the desire expressed by the European Ministers of Culture in Berlin in May 1984 to promote the production of programmes in European countries to supply material for the broadcasting time offered by the new networks;

Considering that the increase of satellite capacity available for television and sound radio makes the adoption of common European principles for the fair use of that capacity highly desirable;

Anxious to promote the harmonisation of the laws which the member states will adopt on the use of satellite capacity;

Considering that the Council of Europe is particularly suited to establish common principles in this field,

Recommends that the governments of member states:

a. respect the following principles on the use of satellite capacity for television and sound radio as regards matters falling within their competence, and

b. take all necessary steps to ensure that those principles are known and respected by the persons and bodies concerned.


Definition and scope

The following principles apply to the use of the capacity of direct broadcasting satellites (DBS) or fixed service satellites (FSS) for the purpose of transmitting programme-carrying signals meant for direct reception by the public, or for the distribution by broadcasting, cable or any other means accessible to members of the public.

For the purposes of this recommendation, the term "service provider" means any public or private broadcasting organisation, any consortium of broadcasting organisations, or any other entity responsible for television and sound radio programmes provided via satellite for reception by members of the public.

This recommendation does not concern problems of copyright and neighbouring rights.

Principle 1: Applicable law

1.1. The state whose competent authority or body makes satellite capacity available to a service provider shall satisfy itself that the programmes to be transmitted comply with its relevant legislation and that its supervisory and judicial bodies have jurisdiction over the service provider.

1.2. Where one member state of the Council of Europe makes satellite capacity available to another member state for use by service providers, the states in question shall reach agreement as to the applicable law.

Principle 2: Programme standards

2.1. Apart from the provisions of the law which is applicable according to Principle 1, service providers shall in general comply with the following basic requirements concerning programme content:

a. news shall not be presented inaccurately or in a partial manner;

b. programmes shall not be indecent and in particular not contain pornography;

c. programmes shall not infringe the right to respect for privacy and family life; they shall respect the views of others;

d. programmes shall not give undue prominence to violence or incite to race hatred;

e. programmes shall respect the sensitivity and the physical, mental and moral personality of children and young persons especially when large numbers of them are likely to watch.

2.2. All efforts shall be made to avoid that the acquisition by one service provider of exclusive rights for an event of high public interest will result in depriving a large part of the public of the opportunity to follow that event on television or radio. In particular, the special conditions of sound radio reports shall be taken into account.

Principle 3: Responsibility

Licences granted by public authorities or contracts concluded with them relating to the use of satellite capacity shall specify the responsibilities of the service provider and of any of the latter's sub-contractors.

Principle 4: Right of reply

Every natural or legal person regardless of nationality or place of residence shall have the opportunity to exercise the right of reply or similar remedies, relating to programmes referred to in this recommendation.

To that effect the name of the person or body responsible for the programme shall be provided with it.

Principle 5: Provision of information

5.1. The fullest possible information about service providers shall be made available upon request by the competent national authority. Such information shall include, depending upon the case, the name, seat, legal status of the service provider, the purpose of the use of satellite capacity, the nature of the programmes, the way of financing and the public for which the programmes are intended.

5.2. Every state shall indicate which authorities or bodies are competent to regulate and license the use of satellite capacity by service providers.