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30. 12. 2011

Supplemented Guide to Digitalization for ANEM stations

Ministry of Culture, Media and Information Society launched, on December 22, 2011, the public debate on Draft Rulebook on Amendments to Rulebook on transition from analogue to digital broadcasting of television program and access to multiplex in terrestrial digital broadcasting and the Draft Decisions on Amendments to the Strategy for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting of radio and television programs in the Republic of Serbia.

The proposed amendments to these two documents, stipulate the change in the way the process of digitalization will be carried out, primarily in terms of the postponement of the digitalization and complete pulling out of the concept of digitalization-in-one-day, planned for April 4, 2012. Instead, the proposed amendments provide for a phase transition to digital broadcasting of TV programs, to be completed no later than June 17, 2015, in line with international obligations of Serbia. The amendments also  anticipate the implementation of a kind of limited simulcast, or phase which will include both digital and analog program broadcasting simultaneously and which will be available to national and provincial public service broadcasters as well as national broaadcasters. A mechanism of replacing the existing broadcasting licenses is also regulated here. However, even these proposed changes have not provided for the solution to the problem of increase of service zones of local stations and consequently their unfair competition to regional stations. Due to all this, ANEM has remained faithful to its proposal for urgent consultations between license holders and the RBA, with the active participation of RATEL and the Ministry of Culture, Media and Information Society. The consultations should address, on one hand, the extending of valid broadcasting licenses, and on the other, the introduction of the acceptable rules for all parties, as a condition of extending the validity of issued licenses. ANEM believes that these rules, or regulatory obligations, could be introduced in the form of binding, or general binding instructions under the Broadcasting Law, as a result of negotiations with the broadcasters themselves.

As there has been scarce official information so far related to deferral of the digitalization process, changes made to the way it will be implemented, as well as the rights and obligations of broadcasters in this process, and as this public debate is intended, primarily, for professionals and experts, on December 30, 2011, ANEM prepared for their stations, together with its law office "Zivkovic&Samardzic", a supplement to the internal Guide to the digitalization process, whose first edition was prepared and submitted to ANEM stations on January 31, 2011. The aim of the supplemented Guide is to provide timely information to ANEM TV stations on everything that is relevant to them in this process, with which the Association seeks to enable its members to keep abreast of all important events and changes, all in order to alleviate their business planning. This Guide was distributed to the stations and also made available through the internal network, ANEM Intranet.

In line with new information, ANEM will continue to supplement this Guide in the future, to help its members to better prepare for the transition to digital broadcasting.

Preparation of this Guide was supported by Civil Rights Defenders.

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