New Uruguay Government prepares changes in the telecommunications area

New Uruguay’s President, Luis Lacalle Pou, presented a new project to be applied from next March 1st, when starting his presidential term. Titled ‘Uruguay seguro, transparente y de oportunidades’, the initiative suggest to make changes in the current telecommunications legislation and other areas, and consists of 10 sections and more than 400 articles. 

The initiative launched by the coming Uruguayan government aims to remove or change  some articles of the current Media Law (Law No. 19,307), officially published in January 2015. According to several Uruguayan press reports, section 1 of the Article 56 is one that is intended to change. If so, TV channels may request licenses to include internet offers, and private telephone companies may include satellite TV services. The derogation of articles 55 and 143. is also suggested. The first one limits the number of subscribers that cable operators can have to 25% of the total subscribers, and the second refers to official advertising at Election time.

The derogation of the second paragraph of article 149 is also included, which establishes that public services ‘will have preference over private ones in the allocation of radio channels, location of stations and other infrastructure necessary to provide the service, as well as in everything relative to the other conditions of installation and operation’. Another paragraph to modify the fifth of article 117, which makes the inclusion of Television Nacional Uruguay compulsory  in the offer of cable operator channels.

Article 39 establishes that at least one TV channel and another radio one  broadcast defining matches of the country’s Football and Basketball National Teams. Although the measure will be maintained, the derogation falls on the third paragraph, which enables the Government to extend this obligation to other events. Finally, it is suggested to derogate paragraph C of article 60, which states that at least 30% of national TV programming must be made by independent producers. The modification does not change another points of the same article, which is what establishes that Uruguayan TV must have at least 60% of national production. It is also proposed to derogate the second paragraph of article 68, referring to the Media Law competences.