Title: The independence of the Maltese broadcasting regulatory authority: legend, wishful thinking or reality?

Authors: Kevin Aquilina

Addresses: Faculty of Laws, University of Malta, New Humanities Building, Block A, Room 216, Msida MSD 2080, Malta

Abstract: The paper discusses whether the Maltese broadcasting regulator - the Broadcasting Authority - enjoys elements of independence in its functioning. It argues that although in certain decisions its does enjoy independence from government and Parliament, there are and have been situations where its independence has been curtailed. It is further argued that the independence of the broadcasting regulator's decision making process is guaranteed but there are situations where the regulator depends on the two organs of the state mentioned above in order to be able to carry out its regulatory functions. If the necessary assistance is not forthcoming, then the Broadcasting Authority cannot perform its constitutional and legal functions. This element of dependence curtails the independent working of the broadcasting regulator. Hence the paper proposes a hierarchy of the degree of regulatory independence and concludes that the Broadcasting Authority unfortunately does not satisfy the criterion of total independence from government and Parliament.

Keywords: Broadcasting Authority; Malta; broadcast media; regulator independence; regulators; typologies; service provision; ex ante regulation; ex post regulation; regulatory authorities; central government; parliament; decision making; constitutional functions; legal functions; constitutions; independent working; dependence levels; radio programmes; television programmes; statutory bodies; public law; public policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPLAP.2013.052956

International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.141 - 156

Published online: 29 Nov 2013 *

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