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International Review of Administrative Sciences
http://ras.sagepub.com Regulation of the Audiovisual and Telecommunications Sector in Italy: From Community Challenge to National Issue
Virginie Verdier-Bonchut International Review of Administrative Sciences 2003; 69; 271 DOI: 10.1177/0020852303069002010 The online version of this article can be found at:http://ras.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/69/2/271

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Regulation of the audiovisual and telecommunications sector in Italy: from Community challenge to national issue
Virginie Verdier
Abstract
Regulation of the telecommunications and audiovisual sector is a legal, economic and even political necessity. While itsexercise by an allegedly independent (administrative) authority is recognized by the Community institutions and all member states, its role and powers differ from country to country. From this point of view, Italy is an atypical case. The authority for guarantees in communication, Agcom, which was a result of Community demands, is the only structure (within the member states) that incorporatesthe principle of convergence. However, while this is, undeniably, a legal process and, above all, complies with the wishes of the Community, Agcom must face up to many criticisms and these once again give rise to a discussion of the role of the independent (administrative) authorities within the administration.

Introduction The growth of the audiovisual and telecommunications1 sector is aphenomenon which has become a major issue in contemporary society. These new technologies, the increase in the financial flows involved in these information and communications media and cultural, social and political parts they play have become a major concern for governments. The public authorities have become aware of the need to legislate these activities and the fact that, in view of the interestsinvolved — public, private and especially general2 — this requires regulatory activity.3 Regulation and legislation are two concepts that must be taken separately. The Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART) reminds us of this:
Regulation must not be confused with legislation . . . Regulation means establishing the legal framework within which legislation must beapplied. This is defined both Community-wide and nationally, and must be sufficiently detailed to lay down the general guidelines, express the wishes of the authorities, and provide the agencies involved with the necessary legal security, while remaining sufficiently general to keep up with the pace of technological and economic change . . . Legislation is not the Virginie Verdier-Bonchut is preparinga PhD (Doctorante), at the A.T.E.R. University Jean MOULIN, Lyon 3, France. CDU: 351.817(45). International Review of Administrative Sciences [0020–8523(200306)69:2] Copyright © 2003 IIAS. SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi), Vol. 69 (2003), 271–283; 033539

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International Review ofAdministrative Sciences 69(2)

definition but the application of the general framework; it is the meeting point of stable regulation and an evolving market.4

The French Council of State presents two forms of legislative action, one of which is more political and relates primarily to the audiovisual sector and, therefore, telecommunications. It considers legislation to be the fact of preferring...
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