The Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities was established on 29 November 1997 in Barcelona on the initiative of the Consell de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya, CAC, and of the French Conseil supérieur de l’sudiovisuel, CSA, in order to act as a forum for discussion, exchange of information and research on the subject of media regulation.

The agreement of Barcelona was signed by five authorities of countries, which are members of the European Union: the Consell de l’Audiovisual da Catalunya and the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel of France, together with the Conseil National de la Radio-Television, CNRTV of Greece, the Autoritá per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni of Italy and the Alta Autoridade Para a Comunicação Social, AACS of Portugal. It was in Barcelona that the participants decided to organize an annual meeting, to establish a rotating Network Presidency. The country which organizes the meeting holds the Presidency for that year.

A permanent Secretariat is to be established in the premises of the French CSA, in Paris.

The second meeting took place in Athens on 18 and 19 of June on the initiative of the Greek CNRTV.

In order to have a better understanding of the Mediterranean diversity beyond the European Union or the Council of Europe, the Network unanimously decided to develop and to invite the regulatory authorities of the following countries: Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Tunis and Turkey.

The Israelian and Tunisian regulatory authorities who were unable to participate in the works of the meeting showed through their presidents, their great interest in the  initiative. Futhermore, the text of the founding charter will be forwarded to them so that they can become members before the next meeting.

The Network’s ongoing authority, the nature of its work, the increasing number of participating authorities and its functions make necessary the setting up of a website to serve the information requirements of its members. The French CSA already responsible for the Network’s permanent Secretariat offers to finance its running.

The Chairman of the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities, EPRA and the special Advisers to the Prime Minister of Morroco also participated as observers.

During the meeting, the Chairman of the French CSA invited all the members of the Network to participate in the Sommet Mondial des Regulateurs about the Internet that will take place in Paris on next 30 of November and 1 of December.

Being aware of the difficulty of finding national solutions to challenges posed by the Internet, the participants agreed to take part in order to share their views on the matter.

An analysis of the national situations showed that in spite of all the diversity and various characteristics, it was clear that all were in favour of an increase in the powers of most of the present regulatory authorities.

Equally, several common concerns were expressed, such as the licensing of the private operators, the introduction of anti-concentration regulations and of the power to impose santions.

The authorities later discussed their experiences regarding the fact that their effectivennes depends on the legal provisions and on the separation of powers existing in the countries concerned. Membership of the Network is open to all independent regulatory authorities from Mediterranean countries.

Aware of the cultural and historical links that unite the countries from both sides of the Mediterranean, and within the context of globalisation the Network should be an effective means of identifing the common challenges faced by the various authorities.

The Network has decided to meet again in the year 2000 at Naples at the invitation of the Autoritá per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni who will be holding the Presidency.