Sports news is also news

Programmes in TV broadcasts which primarily involve news or commentary on news may not be sponsored. This also applies to sports news, according to a judgment by the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Radio and Television Act does not have a definition of programmes that primarily concern news or contain commentary on news and there is no definition of a comparable term in the AV Directive. The Court has assessed whether a programme which contains only sports news is subject to the prohibition against sponsoring.

It cannot be understood from the wording of the statute that the area of application of the provision is limited to a specific type of news programme. The thought behind the prohibition against sponsoring of news programmes is to counteract the risk of someone other than the media service provider exercising editorial influence on the contents of the programme. The interest which the sponsoring prohibition intends to protect is not less relevant solely for the reason that the programme reports are related to sports and athletics.

The Supreme Administrative Court is therefore of the opinion that a programme which contains only sports news constitutes a news programme within the meaning referred to in the Radio and Television Act. Thus, TV4 violated the prohibition against sponsoring when the programme Sporten was sponsored and, accordingly, there was reason to impose an administrative charge on the company.

Read the judgment here: