In brief: media law and regulation in Brazil

In brief: media law and regulation in Brazil

Regulatory and institutional structure

Summarise the regulatory framework for the media sector in your jurisdiction.

Broadcasting services in Brazil are regulated by Law No. 4,117/1962, the Telecommunications Code and Decree No. 52,795/1963, which approved the Broadcasting Services Regulation. Control of broadcasting services is incumbent upon the Ministry of Communications. The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) does not regulate these services but has authority concerning the technical aspects of the use of radio frequencies and compliance of equipment used in related activities.

Pay television services, in turn, are called conditioned access services (SeAC) and are deemed telecommunications services, thus being subject to the provisions of the General Telecommunications Law, in addition to those of Law No. 12,485/2011.

Ownership restrictions

Do any foreign ownership restrictions apply to media services? Is the ownership or control of broadcasters otherwise restricted? Are there any regulations in relation to the cross-ownership of media companies, including radio, television and newspapers?

The Federal Constitution sets forth that ownership of news and broadcasting companies might only be held by native Brazilians or individuals naturalised as Brazilian citizens for over 10 years, or legal entities organised under Brazilian laws, having headquarters in the country. Moreover, at least 70 per cent of the total capital and voting capital of such companies shall be directly or indirectly held by native Brazilians or individuals naturalised as Brazilian citizens for over 10 years, who shall manage the activities thereof and stipulate the programming content.

Licensing requirements

What are the licensing requirements for broadcasting, including the fees payable and the timescale for the necessary authorisations?

The provision of broadcasting depends on a concession or permission agreement entered into with the Brazilian government, which has also to be approved by the National Congress. The respective licensing is subject to a bidding process carried out by the Ministry of Communications. The interested parties shall comply with the applicable requirements set forth by the invitation to bid, which includes requirements related to limited ownership. Fees to be paid depend on the bidding process results, and there is no timescale provided for by law for the conclusion thereof.

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