The Senate wants to take back control

The Senate wants to take back control
The Senate wants to take back control

This is an urgent subject, but it too is overshadowed by the dissolution. The audiovisual sector only has a few months left to provide itself with sustainable financing. By the end of 2024, a decision must be made on how to replace the audiovisual licence fee, which was abolished in 2022.

To answer this pressing question, four senators from the senatorial majority of the right and the center, Cédric Vial, Catherine Morin-Desailly, Roger Karoutchi and Laurent Lafon have submitted a proposal for an organic law on the reform of the financing of public audiovisual media. This text “quite simple, and quite consensual”, according to Cédric Vial, aims to “perpetuate [les] “modalities of financing public audiovisual media by a fraction of the VAT product”, as summarized in the senators’ press release.

Since 2022, a portion of VAT has already financed France Télévisions, Radio-France, RFO, RFI, France 24 and the National Audiovisual Institute. The reform was validated by Parliament in autumn 2022but only temporarily. Already, the senatorial majority of the right and the center called for launching “quickly” a lasting reform.

Independence of public media

“We need a solution that guarantees independence for the audiovisual sector and the media,” analyses Cédric Vial, co-author of the bill. “Today it is applied provisionally, except that if we do not make this solution definitive, we will have difficulties.” Indeed, if this financing solution had to be abandoned, the risk would be a return to financing by the State budget, a solution that guarantees less the independence of public media. “This is a criterion for judging the independence of a media outlet in relation to power,” recalls the senator attached to the LR group in the Senate.

Since 2022, Public broadcasting funding is a matter of debateThe abolition of the TV license fee had been removed in July 2022, in the bill aimed at restoring purchasing power to the French, and in the face of galloping inflation. But since then, we have still been waiting for the vote on a lasting measure.

Tight timing

For the senators, “the goal is for this to be voted on before the PLF (Finance Bill) is tabled,” explains Cédric Vial. If the rule is not changed by the end of September, it will not work. So we tabled this bill because we want to take back control,” he continues. Indeed, to perpetuate the financing of the audiovisual sector, it is first necessary to amend the organic law relating to finance laws (LOLF), and this before the budget is examined.

“Before the finance law, we must have modified the organic law, the LOLF, the one that governs the major principles of public finances,” explains the co-author of the text, Catherine Morin-Desailly.

“The Senate has the possibility of registering the text at the beginning of September and voting on it, and then transmitting it to the Assembly which will be able to study it before the end of September. There will have to be only one reading,” concludes the LR senator. Enough to put pressure on the National Assembly, when it is not even installed yet.

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