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28. 01. 2015


Serbian Media Scene in December 2014 - Report by the Monitoring Team

Freedom of expression - in the section on threats and pressures, the Report analyzes two cases: the letter of two representative trade unions of the Special Hospital for Non-Specific Lung Disease in Sokobanja sent to the RTS management, which letter declares the editor of the RTS correspondent office in Nis Dragana Sotirovski persona non grata in that institution; the decision of the public company Informative Center Odzaci which claims that the journalist Radoslav Medic was redundant in the local public radio station in Odzaci. What is specific about these two cases is that Dragana Sotirovski was declared persona non grata after her year long investigation of the abuse of power by the Director of the Special Hospital "Sokobanja" Liljana Isakovic, including corruption, mobbing, nepotism and other irregularities in this institution, and that she was exposed to threats and pressures even before the trade unions' reaction, while Radoslav Medic was laid off after 30 years of working for the media outlet in Odzaci and after he was downgraded to a position of journalist-reporter (with lesser pay); he also received an oral ban on reporting from political gatherings because he had (as media reported) reported from press conferences of the Democratic Party on the opposition of democrats to the decision of the municipal authorities to relieve chemical factory „Hipol" of payment of the environmental tax, which meant two million dinars less in the local budget at the annual level.

The Report authors note that editorial autonomy in the media undoubtedly includes an autonomous decision on which journalist within the newsroom will report on what event, and that it is unacceptable that public institutions, which the public has an interest to be informed about, make lists of journalists suitable or ill-suited to report on such institutions.

The authors also note that the media should be a forum for a free exchange of information and confrontation of claims by the representatives of local authorities and the opposition on the issues of importance for the life of the community, and that the job of journalists and the media must not be to ignore criticism of the authorities (if the authorities do not respond to such criticism and do not deny facts corroborating it) so as to report „in a balanced and unbiased manner".

A section of the Report on court proceedings analyzes the decision of the Appellate Court in Belgrade revising the decision of the High Court in Belgrade and rejecting the appeal in the case of Mica Jovanovic, owner and former rector of the Megatrend University vs. publisher, editor and journalists of the magazine „Svedok". The Report authors commended the decision of the Appellate Court to characterize the claims in the disputable article, which claims were qualified as „lies and unverified information" in the appeal, as „satirical and humorous comments, personal stance and critical opinion of the author of the article" and to reject the said appeal.

Implementation of existing laws - The Law on Electronic Media - the subject of the analysis are the drafts of three rulebooks put forward to a public debate by the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM): the Rulebook on the Criteria for Making a List of Most Important Events and Exercising the Right to Access to these Events, the Rulebook on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Minors in the Area of Provision of Media Services and the Rulebook on the Pronouncing of Measures to Media Services Providers. The analysis points out that this the first time since the establishment of the independent regulatory body for broadcasting that the content of a general act is subject to a public debate. The fact was assessed as a contribution of the new Law on Electronic Media towards more transparent regulation in the sector of electronic media.

In the period covered by the Report (December 2014) there was no legislative activity regarding the adoption of laws relevant for the media.

Work of competent authorities - in this part of the Report, the authors analyze the work of state bodies: the Republic Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (RATEL), which issued in December 2014 a new list of pirate radio and TV stations that illicitly (without a permit) broadcast radio and television program; the Ministry of Culture and Information - the authors analyze the announcements by Sasa Mirkovic, state secretary at the Ministry in charge of media, concerning the key activities of the Ministry pertaining to the implementation of new media laws (Mirkovic announced these activities at the ANEM seminar on the implementation of new media laws, held on 25 December 2014); Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection - the Report analyzes the absence of transparency in the work of public bodies concerning large infrastructure projects, such as the South Stream or Belgrade on the Water, as well as the Commissioner's problems in the implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance after the introduction of public notaries in Serbia and the dilemma whether they are subject to the said Law.

Digitalization process - The Report authors analyze what marked the digitalization process in December 2014, particularly the publishing of the JP ETV's price list for the services of digital broadcasting. Discounts envisaged by the price list are also analyzed and who will benefit from them at the local, regional and national level.

Privatization process - The Report authors provide a short overview of the progress in the media privatization process after the adoption of new media laws; they analyze the specificities stemming from the parallel implementation of the regulation pertaining to privatization and the provisions of media-related laws.

In the Report conclusion the authors summarize their findings of the Serbian media scene legal monitoring in December 2014.

59th Monitoring Report was produced by the expert team of the ANEM legal department, Law Office "Živković&Samardžić", in cooperation with ANEM.

The Summary and Conclusion of the Report in English is available for download at the end of this page.

The full report and its sections in Serbian are available for download here.


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This project is financially supported by the Civil Rights Defenders.



The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Civil Rights Defenders. 

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This project is financially supported by the Open Society Foundation, Serbia.



The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Open Society Foundation, Serbia.  


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