On Wednesday, April 23, Deputy Ricardo Izar (PTB, São Paulo) gave the chair of the Communications Committee a document in which he says ABTA, the pay-TV industry association, ?has descended the staircase of lies? by claiming that the Martinez bill can?t be implemented. This is a reference to Bill (Projeto de Lei) 3398/2000 submitted by Dep. José Carlos Martinez (PTB, Paraná) to oblige cable operators to carry local broadcasters.
Dep. Izar?s document says the bill is ?in line with the constitutional principles of free competition, consumer protection, reducing regional and social inequality, and social communication, as set forth in article 221 of the Federal Constitution?. It adds that passage of the bill will enable viewers in São Paulo, for example, to watch TV stations located in the North and Northeast.
The document also cites arguments which according to Dep. Izar prove that the Martinez bill won?t damage cable operators, such as the fact that their revenue comes from subscription charges. Including more channels will increase interest in the service, it argues. And it proposes an amendment to correct a drafting error whereby educational stations were omitted from the bill.
In refuting the arguments presented by ABTA and the cable companies, Dep. Izar says ?it is deplorable that even today there are still segments of the business community who close their eyes to the social significance of bill 3398/2000 in order to defend petty interests?. He stresses that ?President Lula has no truck with bad business leaders addicted to the bad habits of the recent past when the state always protected their interests?.