In Belgium, the Communities are competent for the technical aspects and the contents of the audiovisual media services. However, in the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region, some activities of the media sector cannot be exclusively linked to one of the two Communities (the Flemish Community and the French Community): in that case, the Federal State is competent for these activities.

In this context, the BIPT, as a federal institution, acts as the regulator in the sector of audiovisual media services on the territory of the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region as regards audiovisual media services and video-sharing platform services.

Market players and role of the BIPT

An audiovisual medial service consists in the provision of programmes to the general public by means of electronic communications networks. The aim is to inform, entertain and educate the public or to ensure a commercial audiovisual communication. This mainly refers to television shows, commercial communications and on-demand audiovisual contents.

Video-sharing platform services consist in the provision to the general public of programmes, user-generated videos, or both, by means of electronic communications networks. The purpose is to inform, entertain and educate.

In the media sector, the activities regulated by the BIPT are mostly performed by four categories of actors: providers of audiovisual media services, providers of video-sharing platform services, distributors and operators. It is common for a market player to combine several of these roles.

Providers of audiovisual media services – Edition, editorial responsibility and content organisation

Providers of audiovisual media services bear the editorial responsibility of choosing and organising the content. That is the case for example with television broadcasting companies. The content they provide is subject to strict conditions (for example, the protection of minors, sponsorship, product placement, etc.). Therefore, providers of media services are subject to obligations such as the declaration of activities, compliance with rules regarding content, etc.

The BIPT is competent for the regulation of these providers if they are established in the Brussels-Capital Region and if the provided contents are not exclusively in Dutch or in French.

Providers of video-sharing platform services

Providers of video-sharing platform services organise the service via, among other things, automatic means or algorithms, in particular by displaying, tagging and sequencing. They do not bear the editorial responsibility for this service but are subject to content-related obligations (protection of minors, commercial communications, etc.). As a consequence, they must develop and use specific procedures for the classification of content, the processing and settling of claims.

Providers of video-sharing platform services are required to make a declaration to the BIPT for each platform service they intend to provide. 

The BIPT is competent for the regulation of these providers if they are established in the Brussels-Capital Region and if the provided contents are not exclusively in Dutch or in French.

Distributors – Distribution to the public

Distributors provide the public with one or several audiovisual media services through various technical means. They are subject to certain obligations, such as a prior declaration of their activities or the “must carry” (compulsory distribution of certain services).

If the distributed content is not exclusively in Dutch or in French and if their subscribers are, entirely or partially, in the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region, the activities of distributors are regulated by the BIPT.

Operators – Electronic communications services and network

The provided and distributed contents are routed by one (or several) operator(s) via a network and electronic communications services.

If the network in question covers all or part of the territory of the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region and if the activities of the responsible operator are not exclusively linked to the French Community or Flemish Community, they are regulated by the BIPT. Like providers and distributors, operators have to fulfil a series of obligations.

As operators of analogue radio networks, the VRT and the RTBF are exclusively linked to their respective communities and, therefore, do not fall within the scope of the BIPT.

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