The European Court of Human Rights delivered the judgment in the case of Centro Europa 7 S.R.L. v. Italy and Di Stefano v. Italy on June 7. The case concerned an Italian TV company’s inability to broadcast for nearly ten years, despite having a broadcasting licence, due to lack of television frequencies allocated to it.
The Court concluded that the domestic legislative framework had lacked clarity and precision and that the authorities had not observed the deadlines set in the licence, thereby frustrating Centro Europa’s expectations. These shortcomings had resulted in reduced competition in the audiovisual sector. The State failed to put in place an appropriate legislative and administrative framework to guarantee effective media pluralism.
The Grand Chamber of the Court found a violation of freedom of expression and information, and a violation of protection of property. The Court held that Italy was to pay Centro Europa 10 million EUR in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, and EUR 100,000 for costs and expenses.