(Copyright: Eurokinissi)

Gov't spokesman: New development bill to encourage investments in mass media

Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman explaining the contents of the bill relating to his portfolio

The new omnibus bill in Parliament includes regulations that "will facilitate investments in the mass media" and increase employment, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday.

Explaining the contents of the bill relating to his portfolio, Petsas said the regulations "are pervaded by the idea of creating a favorable framework to attract investments across the mass media sector, and to rationalize and update anachronistic and outdated regulations."

The sector, he noted, had been "disproportionately hit by the economic crisis, both in terms of profits, but mostly in terms of employment" and the new regulations will lift obstacles to investments, particularly for private television, free-to-air digital TV, radio & TV subscription services, newspapers, magazines and press printing and distribution businesses.

In particular, he said, the bill will allow undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and other entitites based in EU member-states or in the European Economic Area to participate as shareholders in Greek mass media companies without the obligation of registering shares. Petsas cited the example of advertising agencies, which are not obliged to register shares if they are UCITS.

This legislated exemption has been in effect for decades, he said but also pointed out it does not exempt individual shareholders from share registration obligations. He additionally pointed out that UCITS follow strict regulations, including being banned from owning more than 10 pct of a company.

"We cannot keep our eyes shut before reality," Petsas said.

Speaking of businesses already active in the Greek media, he said that under the new bill's regulations they will be given incentives to invest in infrastructure and technology.

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