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IFJ Warns Serbia On “Damage to Integrity of Broadcasting Law” In Dispute Over Appointment

 

The International Federation of Journalists today backed journalists groups in Serbia protesting over “irregularities” in the National Assembly appointment of people to Council of the Broadcast Agency.

“For months journalists have been calling on the Serbian government to implement the Broadcasting Act, but now when they have decided to act it appears the rules are being broken,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “If the rules are not followed it will do damage to the integrity of the country’s broadcasting law and will undermine the whole process of reforming the broadcasting system.”

The Broadcasting Act provides that the Parliament should publish at least 30 days in advance of the day of selection of Council members all valid lists of nominees. However, the Serbian Parliament elected eight members on 11 April, but one nomination was published only three days before and another one was announced the very day of the election. “These are irregularities that cause dismay to everyone hoping to see a fresh start for one of Europe’s most damaged broadcasting systems,” said White. “We ask the Serbian Parliament to reconsider the action that has been taken. If the rules have been broken, the process is flawed. It is vital to build confidence in the democratisation of the broadcast media.”

The IFJ is asking the Serbian Parliament for explanations and to reconsider the nominations of the two candidates to the Council, which will have a key role in developing a new landscape for electronic media in Serbia.

The Broadcasting Agency will grant broadcasting permits, regulate programming content and implement the legal framework for electronic media in Serbia. In spite of the present dispute, it held its first session last week where members signed an obligation to work independently and without any bias. The Agency has received financial support from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and from the European Agency for Reconstruction for its future work.

“Everyone wishes the new framework to succeed,” said White, “but it will only do so if journalists and public are satisfied that a transparent and honest system is in place. That’s why journalists are right to demand the appointment process fully respects the new law.”

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries

Front page of special

News

Chronology of events

 


DOCUMENTS

Media situation in Serbia, May 2003

Invitation to dialogue between government and media

Full text of the demand to replace two members of the Broadcast Agency Council

 


ANALYSIS

Srecko Mihajlovic: Lost in advance: the battle against pubic

Does the law not matter?

IFJ Warns of “Damage to Integrity of Broadcasting Law”

SEEMO Concerned over Press Freedoms in Serbia

 
FORUM

OSCE urges new election for broadcast monitoring body

CPJ concerned about government harrassment of the press

IPI Serbia Alert

RWB Call for re-election of council

OSCE urges transparency in media appointments

ANEM: repeat Broadcast Council election

NGOs shun Broadcast Council debate

EC Charge d’Affaires: Cause for concern

US Ambassador Extremely Disappointed at Status of Media

Verena Taylor: Legal procedure was not respected

OSCE Chairman: Laws may never be broken

Head of OSCE Mission: (1) “Aware of certain criticism”

Dimitrijevic: Against flouting of law in name of public interest

Head of OSCE Mission: (2) The law was broken in the Broadcasting Council’s constituting

Andric: Decision will stand

Milivojevic: If there is suspicion about autonomy form outset, Council will not be able to operate.

Veljanovski: There is deliberate negative pressure from the authorities.

Lucic-Cavic: Angry that candidate of professional associations, one of our greatest media experts, won’t be sitting on the Council

Matic: Not only an issue for our profession, it is a problem for the entire society

Lucic-Cavic: We could have survived another month

Milenkovic: Will broadcasters follow Parliament’s suit in breaching law?

Radulovic: Guiding principle was bad

Zink: Govt and parliament should consider grounds and response


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