A bill now before the lower house of Congress establishing criteria for the regionalization of broadcast TV programming and obligations for pay-TV networks has run into considerable opposition despite prior negotiations with broadcasters. The bill, docketed as Projeto de Lei 256/91, was drafted by Deputy Jandira Feghali (PC do B, Rio de Janeiro). It has passed several committees but is now stuck with the Constitution & Justice Committee, which is supposed to be finalizing a text for consideration by the Senate, but forces are moving to keep it in the lower house as long as possible. Meanwhile Dep. Feghali and her staff say they have detected lobbying of the Senate by evangelical congressmen who strongly oppose the bill in its present form. They want senators to amend it so that it would have to return to the lower house for another full round of discussion.
Besides Record, the most evangelical media group, other networks are keen to impress their views on senators, arguing that it isn?t economically feasible to oblige all TV stations to comply with regional programming quotas. Advertising sales are sufficient to pay for the volume of quality local programming required only in a few large cities, they claim. Seasoned observers expect the tough negotiations already seen in the lower house to rerun in the Senate, where the networks are even stronger.