"In view of the foregoing, the defendant [RTP] ordered to pay a one-off fine of 50 euros for having violated paragraph 000 of article 3 of the law on television and audiovisual services on demand, in the wording in force at the time of the facts, conferred by Law no. 34/78, of July 2015", reads the decision of the Social Communication Regulatory Entity (ERC) of November 29.
Article 34 of the law on television and audiovisual services on demand (LTSAP) concerns accessibility, ie the obligation to make programs more accessible to people with special needs.
“With regard to the facts described (…) proven facts, by not guaranteeing 12 hours per week of informative, educational, cultural, recreational or religious programs with interpretation in Portuguese sign language, including full and daily interpretation of one of the news services in the night period, the defendant predicted the possibility of this lack of interpretation through the Portuguese sign language of the programs”, explains the ERC.
RTP "knew that it was obliged to respect the standards relating to the interpretation into Portuguese sign language of the programmes, knowing full well that the non-transmission of programs with interpretation into Portuguese sign language would not find support in the law , wanting, however, to broadcast programs under these conditions", specifies the ERC, considering that "he practiced the facts described freely and consciously, knowing well that his conduct was prohibited and punishable by law", having already precedents .
"The fact concerning the non-respect of the 12 weekly hours of programs of an informative, educational, cultural, recreational or religious nature with interpretation in Portuguese sign language, including, the integral and daily interpretation of one of the services of information in the night period, from week 27 to week 37, of the year 2017” on RTP2, is information extracted from deliberation ERC/2018/123 (OUT-TV), dated June 14, 2018.
Added to this are the statements of the witness cited by the accused, Teresa Paixão, director of the program department of RTP2.
The ERC recalls that the director's statement was recorded in digital format, dated May 27, 2021, and that it specifies: "'[n]the summer period, a period during which there was no realization of having the interpreter on the air (…)'”.
The regulator recalls that RTP invoked, in written defence, that "irrespective of whether or not the defendant breached the obligations relating to the accessibility of the RTP2 program service to persons with special needs, in terms of programming with interpretation through Portuguese sign language, foreseen in the multiannual plan 2017/2020, what matters is that this fact can never be sanctioned as an administrative offence" and that the provisions of article 34, paragraph 3, of the LTSAP “[…] a simple rule attributing competence to the ERC […] has only one addressee — the ERC — and a single obligation — that of this entity to define certain obligations towards third parties ".
RTP admits that, "factually, the conclusions contained in the indictment are correct with regard to the non-compliance reported in weeks 27 to 30 of the year 2017, with the obligations relating to the accessibility of the service of the RTP2 program by people with special needs, in terms of programming with interpretation in Portuguese sign language, provided for in the 2017/2020 Multiannual Plan”.
And he presents as a mitigating circumstance the fact that these weeks correspond "roughly to the months of July, August and September, during which some of the regular programs broadcast throughout the year in Portuguese sign language […] are not no longer broadcast due to the usual holiday period and the adjustment and planning of the programming strategy for the new schedule".
ALU // EA
Lusa / End