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05. 06. 2009





Continuing the series of workshops for its member stations, ANEM facilitated and organized a second workshop supported by USAID and IREX Serbia, in order to acquaint ANEM member stations with implications of monitoring of program content and advertizing rules, conducted by the Republican Broadcasting Agency (RBA). This workshop was held in Belgrade on June 4th, 2009.

The workshop, as well as the other planned, has the same main goal - to build up the internal capacities of local and regional media, ANEM member stations. Aiming to introduce its member stations with RBA monitoring of program content, and keeping in mind the seriousness of the consequences which these implications can have to the broadcasters, ANEM provided member stations with information and explanation from experts and regulatory authorities.

At the workshop, stations were properly informed about the provisions of Broadcasting Law, Advertising Law and RBA’s Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and their rights and obligations coming from the mentioned regulations. Moreover, broadcasters were directed to pay the attention to the program content, which is part of their broadcasting licenses, and which will be in focus of RBA monitoring.

On ANEM invitation, the workshop was attended by representatives of Republican Broadcasting Agency, Nenad Jankovic, Deputy of Executive Director and Mario Brudar, Deputy of Chief of Monitoring and Analysis Department, on behalf of Ministry of Trade, at the workshop was present Vera Despotovic, high counselor, then,  program formatting expert, Rastislav Durman and lawyers of ANEM Legal Department, Slobodan Kremenjak and Ksenija Golubovic-Filipovic, attorneys  at Zivkovic & Samardzic law office. Also, there were 21 representatives of 18 ANEM member stations at the workshop: RTV Pancevo,  Radio City Nis, RTV Prima Bajina basta, RTV Kragujevac, Radio Star FM Cacak, TV Cacak, Radio Em Knjazevac, TV Panovizija Vrsac, RTV OK Kovacica, Radio Boom 93 Pozarevac, Radio Kikinda, RTV 5 Nis, Ivanjicki radio, TV Pozega, TV Leskovac, VK Televizija Kikinda, Radio Cacak and Radio Patak Valjevo.

Key accomplishments:
• 21 participants, coming from 18 ANEM stations and 6 guest speakers/panelists participated in the workshop.
• Workshop had two particular parts. At first, representatives of regulatory bodies and Ministry of trade and services explained the monitoring procedures and provisions of the key broadcasting laws (Broadcasting and Advertizing) and RBA Code of Conduct for Broadcasters. The second part offered to stations the practical advices presented by ANEM lawyers and program content formatting expert. Both segments of workshop were tailored to contribute toward project goal; all materials and power point presentations will be sent to all ANEM members and visible on ANEM web-site and ANEM Intranet.
• Lively, open and constructive debate showed many misunderstanding of certain provisions of the Broadcasting Law, Code of Conduct for Broadcasters and especially, Advertising Law, among the broadcasters.
• Guest speakers provided relevant and accountable information to the participants. RBA representatives called on stations to carefully review their broadcasting licenses and program structure they obliged to respect. Also, they were demonstrated with several practical examples (parts of broadcasted programs) what could be a reason for concern and on which segments stations should pay attention. Severe disrespect of program structure can even cause the revoke of the license, but also, the quality program (with adequate amount of informative, culture, education, etc.) can reduce the level of fees charged by RBA. 
• Workshop was also used as an opportunity to openly discuss with representative of Ministry of Trade and Services, in charge of drafting the amending Advertizing Law, and point out several possible ways of intervention (provisions which cause problems in every day practice), as the mentioned Law will be in the process of changing in the following months. That process was initiated by already submitted ANEM suggestions, as well. She made perfectly clear that RBA is in charge of monitoring of the rules of advertising implementation (for broadcasters), not Ministry. ANEM advocacy activities will also be directed on the announced changes of Advertizing Law and Association will submit its proposals to the Ministry. 
• ANEM lawyers clarified to stations the provisions of sponsorship, product placement and program quotas.
• Production of quality program, especially the informative one, could be very expensive and this problem is especially visible in the period of crisis. It can be expected that stations would have to adjust their program offer, depending on the reduction of the incomes. Expert for program formatting introduced stations to several steps when conducting such thorough modification and provided them with advices which can help them to conduct this important task. He also makes available to all participants his brochure for making program scheme, as a practical tool, and it will be sent via email to all stations.    
• Internal survey conducted after the workshop shows that the stations were ‘largely’ or ‘partly’ familiar with the provisions of the media-related Laws and Broadcasters’ Code of Conduct and that information received at the workshop, for great majority of participants (75% of them), ‘largely’ helped to clear certain doubts. Survey also showed that stations had the most uncertainties with the Advertizing Law (65% of them), so ANEM will have to direct its future activities toward this input from the stations. 60% of the stations stated that the information received at the workshop regarding the program formatting will ‘largely’ help them in conducting every day work. Stations representatives also stated that they will make no significant changes in their program scheme (60% of them) or will make only ‘partial’ changes (40%). Overall stations’ assessment is that workshop provided high quality panelists, high quality debate and offered answers to the asked questions.

Workshop conclusions:
• Stations were timely introduced to the requirements of the forthcoming monitoring for regional and local stations. They received first-hand advices on how to prepare themselves for content monitoring and avoid potential mistakes
• The debate confirmed the choice of workshop theme as the right one, since it was obvious that stations did not understand correctly their obligations and provisions of treated regulations, before this meeting.
• Most of Code of Conduct, Broadcasting Law and Advertising Law provisions which, according to participants, cause the problems in every day practice of the stations were clarified, due to most competent speakers – persons actually in charge of monitoring (from RBA) and Advertising Law (from relevant Ministry).
• The complexity of too many rules and difficulties of their proper application in practice, demonstrated the necessity for some further training, especially due to fact that all of  mentioned regulations will be changed in near future; ANEM will consider the possibility to organize another workshop on this subject, potentially  with RBA and Ministry for Trade and Services, whose representatives expressed the motivation to cooperate
• Stations were directed to focus on the quality of their program offer, as only quality program, formatted to fit the needs of local audience, can increase the stations’ audience, and consequently, to increase the sustainability of the local media.
• Although the ongoing crisis is of primary concern for the stations, the cuts in budgets will most likely cause the changes in the program production. For this reason, ANEM offered the practical advices to stations for potential program restructuring/reformatting
• The debate clearly demonstrated the necessity for amending and systematic changes of the mentioned regulations. ANEM will take part and actively participate in the public debates regarding these matters and duly submit its proposals
• In the near future, ANEM plans to help its member stations through providing the free, quality program production, and additionally, through advocacy for changes of Broadcasting Law, Advertizing Law and Broadcasters’ Code of Conduct, in order to become fully comprehensible for the stations and applicable in every day practice. ANEM will try to continue to provide stations with free legal aid of lawyers from Zivkovic & Samardzic Law Office, as part of their engagement refers to clarification and interpretation of legal provisions influencing the program content. 
• The willingness of RBA and Ministry representatives, to participate in ANEM workshop clearly demonstrated to the stations that being a part of Association means much more opportunities and stronger negotiation position. In such a way, workshop like this one, contribute to improvement of relations between ANEM headquarters and members and fortify sense of belonging and solidarity.

Vera Despotovic ppt presentation (available only in Serbian)
Ksenija Golubovic ppt presentation (available only in Serbian)
Rastislav Durman ppt presentation (available only in Serbian)

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