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IPI Serbia Alert


Ms. Natasa Micic
Acting President of Serbia and
President of the Serbian Parliament
Republic of Serbia

Mr. Zoran Zivkovic
Prime Minister of Serbia
Republic of Serbia

Vienna, 29 July 2003

Your Excellencies,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, leading journalists and media executives in over 115 countries, is deeply worried at the decision by the Serbian Parliament to confirm the appointments of Nenad Cekic, Vladimir Cvetkovic and Goran Radenovic to the Broadcast Agency Council (BAC).

According to information provided to IPI, the decision of the parliament was made under the aegis of the new Broadcast Act which was passed on 18 July 2002. Under this law, the composition of the BAC was reduced from 15 to nine members with the parliaments of Serbia and Vojvodina empowered to chose four, the universities and churches two, and non-government organizations and professional associations also two. The ninth member of the BAC was to be chosen jointly by the eight members with the express condition that he or she live and work in Kosovo.

Unfortunately, a number of the appointments failed to follow the procedures as laid down in the aforementioned Broadcast Act. The elections of Nenad Cekic and Vladimir Cvetkovic were disputed on the grounds of procedural errors, while Goran Radenovic, the so-called ninth member, failed to fulfil the requirements because he neither lived nor worked in Kosovo. Ignoring these procedural breaches of the requisite law, the Serbian parliament has subsequently confirmed the election of all of the BAC members.

Irrespective of the parliamentary vote, which broadly followed party lines, IPI strongly believes that the attempt to override the Broadcast Act is a glaring procedural breach, which has left the much-needed BAC mired in accusations that it is now operating illegally. As a result of these accusations, IPI believes that the Serbian and Montenegrin government has little choice but to disband the present BAC, thus rescinding its authority, and to start anew: this time following the procedures laid down by the Broadcast Act.

A failure to follow this procedure will mean that the authority and integrity of the BAC and, by virtue of its close connection to the decision making process, the present government, are badly damaged. Indeed, IPI believes that in order for the media’s trust in the BAC to be restored this action needs to be carried out immediately.

Moreover, IPI wishes to point out that IPI’s Vienna Declaration on Public Broadcasting 1993 states that “freedom of the press [is] to include freedom of broadcasting… To avoid pressure by the government of the day or other public or private bodies, this principle should be enshrined in national constitutions, [and] broadcasting statutes… .” While the procedural breaches remain, IPI is forced to the inevitable conclusion that the Serbian and Montenegrin government is indifferent to the need for improvements to be made to the media environment.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz

International Press Institute (IPI)
Spiegelgasse 2/29
A-1010 Vienna
Tel: + 431-512 90 11
Fax: + 431-512 90 14

IPI, the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, is dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practices of journalism.

Front page of special


Chronology of events



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



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


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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