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24. 06. 2009





ANEM organized, with support of USAID and IREX, the third workshop for its member stations, aiming to contribute to the improvement of theirs position on media market. The main goal of this workshop was to return the focus of media public and state officials to the problem of privatization, which was stopped, although it was long ago identified as one of the most important process for media and society democratization. Due to complexity of the issue, workshop was separated in two days sessions.

First day of the workshop entitled  „Minority media and media ownership – implications of privatization process“, was held on June 23, and dedicated to ANEM member stations which work in multicultural environments, considering the fact that minority media, or media which inform on minority languages, deserve a special attention in the process of privatization.

On ANEM invitation, all participants of the workshop were welcomed by the introductory speech of Richard McClear, Chief-of-Party of IREX Serbia. Panelists were: representative of OSCE, Dragana Solomon, Chief of media Department in this organization, representatives of 3 authorized Ministries: Ministry of Culture (Natasa Vuckovic-Lesendric, Deputy Minister of Culture in charge of media), Ministry of Human and Minority Rights (Zorica Novakovic, Councilor) and Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (Nada Dojcinovic, head of Department for local municipality, Ministry of Public Administration and Self-Government), and also the representatives of journalists’ association NUNS (Jelka Jovanovic, vice president) and experts for media and media law, Zuzana Serences, media analysts and representative of Independent Society of Journalists of Vojvodina and Dubravka Valic Nedeljkovic, president of Managing board of Novi Sad Journalism School, and Slobodan Kremenjak, lawyer at the ANEM Legal Department. Workshop was attended by 7 representatives of 4 ANEM stations: Radio Kikinda, RTV VK Kikinda, Radio Subotica and Radio Bus Kovin.

The second day of workshop was dedicated to problem of halted media privatization in general. ANEM considered as its duty to enable to all its stations, reasonable unsatisfied with media situation, an opportunity for open and constructive debate with representatives of relevant state authorities, media experts and also, among themselves, with belief that it is the right way for them to improve their position on their own. The main idea of this workshop was to facilitate adoption of some constructive conclusions of its participants and to move state authorities to provide some resolution of this problem, without delay.

Like the previous day of workshop, all participants were welcomed by Richard McClear, IREX Serbia Chief-of-Party, and panelists of this day were: representatives of Ministry of Culture (Maja Rakovic, Councilor) and Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (Nada Dojcinovic, head of Department for local municipality, Ministry of Public Administration and Self-Government), also representatives of NUNS, Djordje Padejski, Chief of Center for Investigative journalism, media experts Snjezana Milivojevic, media analysts, professor at Faculty of Political Science and Dragan Bosiljkić, Advisor, and former chief of Department for media privatization in the  Agency for privatization, along with ANEM lawyer, Slobodan Kremenjak. The workshop was attended by 14 representatives of ANEM member stations: Radio BOOM 93 Pozarevac, RTV Trstenik, Radio Cacak, TV Cacak, Radio Pozega, TV Pozega, TV Jedinstvo, RTV Kragujevac, Niska TV, Radio City Nis, TV Pirot, Radio Ozon Cacak, Radio M+ Mladenovac i Radio Ema Bujanovac.

Key accomplishments:
• Totally 21 participants representing 18 ANEM stations and 11 guest speakers took part in two-day workshop.
• Having in mind the complexity of the subject, workshop was organized in two separate sessions. The first day was dedicated to ANEM stations working in multi-cultural environment and the focal point was privatization and minority media, while the second day was dedicated to process of privatization and the importance of media operating according to democratic and market principals.
• Sessions were also tailored to facilitate the open discussion among ANEM stations, as the Association has highly diverse membership structure. It was important to enable quality discussion and to hear all experiences, opinions and all stand points. Also, it was important for ANEM to fully understand the difference in positions and thus direct its future activities in this area.   
• Workshop panelists contributed to the success of the workshop. Stations had real insight in the problem of media privatization, as it was presented from the different angles. On ANEM call, state representatives (representatives of Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government), relevant media experts and donors’ community representatives actively participated at the workshop.
• Stations had a real opportunity to present their points of view. They were especially encouraged by Secretariat to share their experience and stand points. Minority, private, privatized and non-privatized stations equally participated in the debate. More important, their stands were heard by representatives of relevant authorities, who can appreciate this contribution of the ANEM stations regarding the problem of privatization – its various aspects, problems and specific outcomes.
• Many issues concerning the media privatization were raised. They range from model of privatization to editorial independence, relation of ownership and right to information, distorted competition on the market, possible ways of stable financing of the quality content, etc. This way, the complexity of the issue was adequately presented.
• ANEM considers as a great success to bring together its stations with different ownership structure, to discuss this issue in constructive and friendly manner. This way, the mutual understanding was increased and Association strengthened its internal capacities.
• All present stations showed great level of sensitivity for their listeners/viewers. When discussing the matter of media ownership and privatization, they often emphasized the importance of providing quality information to the audience and effects of the privatization on the quality of information.     
• ANEM considers this, and all other workshops, as an excellent occasion for gathering the relevant inputs from the stations, which can direct Association’s further activities. In this perspective, workshop conclusions will be the part of ANEM further advocacy activities and public promotion of the privatization problem.

Workshop conclusions:
• Privatization of media is one of the crucial processes for the democratic transition, so it must be constantly in the focus of the media stakeholders. For this reason, ANEM organized this workshop with its members, media outlets, and also with other relevant actors and will, in the future, raise public attention on this issue, using its various communication channels (newsletters, web presentation, direct meetings, communication with stations and stakeholders, etc.)
• Stations reached the overall consensus that the privatization is necessary and that this process is irreversible; they agreed that this status quo is unbearably equally for all of them - for private station, as a proper functioning of media market, important for their sustainability, depends on completion of this process and for publicly owned media, as they are in legal vacuum, which means they are much more vulnerable.
• Publicly owned media, however, do not share the same point of view when it comes to the concrete model in which the privatization should be carried out; some of them are for partial privatization, the other for complete privatization, but under different conditions regards to former ones. 
• All participants agreed that even though privatization of some media wasn’t successful, it doesn’t mean that the process itself is unnecessary; it requires some modifications in order to overcome identified shortcomings.
• ANEM, its members and other stakeholders are also fully aware that the process of media privatization is highly influenced by politics and mostly depends on political will. Encouraging fact is that the representatives of relevant Ministries, participating in the workshop, showed a good will to continue this process. ANEM will have to increase its advocacy activities, insist on further media reforms and, by its constructive suggestions, contributes to realization of stated good will.
• ANEM advocacy activities regarding the privatization will be especially directed to the Ministry of Culture. This Ministry is in charge of media development and, as such, has a duty to pass the media development strategy, privatization strategy and related rule book regarding the privatization.
• Halted privatization caused simultaneous existence of various types of media outlets with different positions on the media market, where private stations are much more burdened than the publicly owned ones. ANEM finds that some positive measures, which can correct the current distortion of the market, are to be endorsed by authorities in the meantime, up to continuance of privatization process– equal access to media funds of local communities for all media, regardless of their ownership, stable financing of the quality content, lower financial burden of the private media (reduction of mandatory fees), etc; ANEM will keep on with advocating for that
• The debate demonstrated that the lack of media privatization strategy is one of the key reasons for suspending this process; it caused the misunderstanding and partial solutions of different Ministries (for Culture and for Public Administration and Local-Self Government) and collisions of laws proposed by them; ANEM will actively advocate for establishing this strategy.
• Beside strategy, the debate clarified the need for harmonization of existing laws in mutual collision, which is one of  the main tasks of authorities regards to privatization and it demands the cooperation among different Ministries; although representatives of those Ministries demonstrated good will for compromise and changes, ANEM will carefully monitor their work, as, up to now, many said or promised things by authorities did not  come true; ANEM will also use all its advocacy tool to make a pressure on authorities to do necessary changes.

Dubravka Valic Nedeljkovic ppt presentation (available only in Serbian)
Djordje Padejski ppt presentation (available only in Serbian)

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