Broadcasting and media law

The pages in this section present the current legal framework applicable to the Austrian media industry. The legal framework underwent substantial changes in the year 2001, when private terrestrial radio was provided with a new legal basis in the Private Radio Act (PrR-G), and private terrestrial television was made possible by the Private Television Act (PrTV-G), which also included the provisions of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Act. The Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) was also created at that time. Moreover, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) was also subjected to new legal provisions under the ORF Act (ORF-G).

In addition to a large number of laws and ordinances which define the legal and technical framework for KommAustria's activities, international treaties as well as legal acts of the EU also have an influence on broadcasting regulation in Austria.

The most recent substantial changes in the media field took place in October 2010, when KommAustria was provided with a new basis in constitutional law, transforming it from a monocratic, subordinate authority into an independent panel authority which is not subject to instructions from any other authority. At the same time, all of Austria’s broadcasting laws were amended: In particular, the ORF Act has equipped the regulatory authority with far-reaching supervisory powers over ORF and its subsidiaries, while the Audiovisual Media Services Act (formerly the Private Television Act) implements the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and expands the authority’s substantive control over broadcasting to include audiovisual media services on the Internet. Finally, additional considerations regarding the digitisation of television and radio broadcasting were also taken into account in the Austrian Audiovisual Media Services Act and Private Radio Act.

Legal acts of the regulatory authority which require publication (such as invitations to tender for broadcasting licences and frequencies) can be found in the Publications section, where KommAustria’s official decisions are also published..