Since the beginning of broadcasting, the broadcasting authorities have been aware of the value that lies in a close collaboration on the international plane. The imperative reasons acting in favour of such collaboration were:
- the very nature of radio waves, which ignore national frontiers;
- the similarity of the problems arising from the operation of broadcasting services in the different countries;
- the need to organise programme exchanges between broadcasting organisations;
- the complexity and interdependence of the problems posed from the technical, artistic and legal points of view, which called for a close collaboration between the engineers, programme staff and jurists of the different countries.
These reasons brought about the formation of a specialised international organisation whose activities include all aspects of broadcasting.
This organisation was, originally, the International Broadcasting Union (I.B.U.) which was formed at Geneva in 1925.
Since 1950, the European Broadcasting Union (E.B.U.) which succeeded the I.B.U., has fulfilled this task.
What is the E.B.U. ?
In law the European Broadcasting Union is a non-governmental international organisation whose object is to take care of the interests of organisations operating broadcasting services.
It is a private association, with no commercial aim, although it is an association of operating organisations.
The term “broadcasting service” should be taken in its most general sense, covering both sound and television broadcasting. It is, therefore, in this general sense that the term “broadcasting” should herein be understood, as it appears in the title of the Union, which includes both sound broadcasting and television organisations.
In French, the Union is called “Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion”, it being known in that language by the initials “U.E.R.” The two working languages of the Union are, in effect, French and English.
Professionally In the terms of its statutes, the aims of the European Broadcasting Union are:
- to support in every domain the interest of its affiliated broadcasting organisations and to establish relations with other broadcasting organisations;
- to promote all measures designed to assist the development of broadcasting in all its forms;
- to seek the solution, by means of international cooperation, of any differences that may arise;
- to use its best endeavours to ensure that all its Members respect the provisions of international agreements relating to all aspects of broadcasting
This enumeration of general principles guiding the E.B.U. in the orientation of its work permits judging the scope and diversity of its objectives, as will be shown in the description of its activities.
Geographically As its name indicates, the activity of the E.B.U. covers in the first place the countries of Europe, as well as the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, which, in the terms of the Conventions of the International Telecommunication Union (I.T.U.), are part of the “European Broadcasting Area”.
The activities of the E.B.U., however, extend outside Europe, a large number of extra-European broadcasting organisations having associated themselves with its work or achievements.
Thus the E.B.U. includes sound and television broadcasting organisations throughout the world, such organisations belonging to countries that are either members or associate members of the I.T.U.
- Only organisations within the “European Broadcasting Area” may belong to the E.B.U. as Active Members, that is to say, as members enjoying full rights.*
- Organisations in other parts of the world can belong to the E.B.U. only as Associate Members.
On 30th June, 1962, there were twenty-seven Active Members, in twenty-five countries:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany (Federal Republic), Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jugoslavia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vatican City.
On the same date, there were twenty-four Associate Members, all, except one, outside the European Broadcasting Area, in seventeen countries:
Australia, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Congo (Leopoldville), Dahomey, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rhodesia and Nyasaland, South Africa, United States of America, Upper Volta.
The map reproduced above gives an idea of the geographical distribution of the E.B.U.’s Members and Associate Members, the full alphabetical list of whom is shown in the table. It also shows that, thanks to the E.B.U., cooperation in the field of broadcasting has become a reality from one end of the world to the other.
How does the E.B.U. work?
The general policy of the Union, the policy of decision in the orientation of its work, the determination of the programme of its activities, the admission or withdrawal of affiliation of E.B.U. Members, are dealt with by the General Assembly and the Administrative Council, whose activity concentrates on periodical meetings. The preparation of the decisions of these assemblies is the duty of the Union’s Committees, who play a consultative part, and of the permanent, executive, services.
The table shown herewith represents in schematic form the organisation of the E.B.U.