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August 27: Minister “surprised” at aid freeze for media watchdog
August 26: Broadcast Council chairman unconcerned by EU freeze
August 25:
Europe suspends assistance to Broadcast Council
July 25:
Anti-Corruption Council's Media Requests Dodged
June 11: Another Broadcast Council member resigns
May 27: Controversial ninth member appointed by parliament
May 12: Wife blows the whistle on broadcast lies >> link
April 25: Broadcast Agency Council appoints ninth member
April 18: Media associations object to monitoring appointments

Minister “surprised” at aid freeze for media watchdog
August 27, 2003 | B92

BELGRADE, August 27 2003 – The decision of the European Agency for Reconstruction to freeze 300,000 euros earmarked for Serbia’s Broadcast Agency Council had come as a surprise, Culture and Media Minister Branislav Lecic told B92 today.

Lecic said there had been no mention of suspending the assistance at a meeting with the European Commission and the OSCE last month.

“Now suddenly this looks like some kind of blackmail. It seems that the battlefield has moved from home to abroad, with certain political circles had applied pressure for this decision to suspend aid,” said Lecic.

Lecic condemned what he described as powerful lobbies exerting influence at a European level in their own interests.

“I personally think that this is not a sound policy, the policy of all those who think they can give their own government a slap on the wrist through Europe in this way,” he said.

The decision by the European Commission and the European Agency for Reconstruction is the first time that Europe has suspended aid to Serbia since the popular uprising of October, 2000.

The programming and coordination director of the Agency, Hasso Molineus, told Radio B92 that the European Union must be certain in every case of financial assistance that the funds would be applied in line with democratic procedures and the rule of law.

“In this particular case those procedures were not honoured and we are unable to support a process which has certain flaws, and this is why we are temporarily freezing these funds,” said Molineus.

“The main message is: if you have rules and procedures, please honour them,” he added.

Lecic, meanwhile, was unconcerned by the freezing, saying that the Broadcast Council Agency would be funded from frequency licence fees and that operating costs would be covered from the state budget until that revenue began to come in.

Broadcast Council chairman unconcerned by EU freeze
August 26, 2003 | Beta

BELGRADE, August 26 2003 – The Broadcasting Agency Council has no knowledge of any funding by foreign or local organisations for its operations, chairman Nenad Cekic said today.

“There has been no discussion about donations of either funds or other resources with the Council and the Council has never officially signed any document,” Cekic told media.

Cekic claimed that the only body authorised to provide resources for the Council’s operations was the Serbian Government, which had provided funding almost two weeks ago.

“The Broadcast Act does not cover foreign donations, especially not directly. If there are donations they can be received only via the Serbian Government,” he added.

The Council chairman also predicted that once the Council began granting frequency licences early next year, it would be generating more revenue than it would be able to spend

Europe suspends assistance to Broadcast Council
August 25, 2003 | Radio 202

BELGRADE, August 25, 2003 – Three major European organisations are to decide in the next few days whether to offer financial assistance to the Broadcast Council Agency, after earlier plans for aid were suspended, Belgrade Radio 202 reports today.

The organisations involved are the European Agency for Reconstruction, the European Commission and the OSCE.

Deputy Prime Minister Miodrag Isakov said today that the problem was not so much a matter of funding, but of whether the Broadcast Council would be able to function properly without the support of the OSCE and Europe in general.

“I don’t think it’s wise to force the issue and insist on a Council which does not enjoy support from Europe.

“I believe that the Council should be re-elected because it has lost all credibility and authority in the course of the election process which was repeated a number of times,” said Isakov.

The deputy prime minister also said that it was of the utmost importance to resolve the issue so that the Broadcast Council could begin resolving key issues of the media and broadcast frequencies.

“Someone is obviously eager to profit from the presence of people who forced their way onto the Broadcast Council so that frequencies would be allocated to suit someone’s needs,” said Isakov, underlining the need for the issue to be investigated.

In the meantime, the latest issue of the Official Gazette report that the cabinet has approved five million dinars from budget reserves for the Broadcast Agency Council.

Anti-Corruption Council on the brink of collapse
July 25, 2003 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Friday -- The Anti-corruption Council said today that its very existence will depend on talks with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic and the Serbian Government's readiness to support measures aimed at preventing corruption.

Promptly afterwards Council member Nikola Milosevic tendered his irreversible resignation.

Members are to decide whether or not to collectively resign following a meeting with Zivkovic, currently out of the country, and member Ivan Lalic confirmed to Radio Television Serbia that the issue was discussed at today's Council meeting.

According to a Council statement, they are proposing implementation of stringent anti-corruption legislation, which includes the law preventing conflicts of professional interest for state practitioners.

However, the Council stress, on the law governing the financing of political parties has been ratified to date, and even this will not be applied before 2004.

The statement adds that a Council request for full disclosure of public company board positions held by Serbian Government representatives has yet to be honoured.

Media requests dodged

The Anti-Corruption Council has not been informed of the government's stance on a proposal to form an independent auditing company to investigate the legality of the operations of Radio Television Serbia, TV Pink and a number of other media firms.

They added that the government also ignored a request that the Broadcast Agency Council members be recalled and re-elected to ensure the procedure for formation of the Agency Council was fully adhered to.

According to the government's press office, documentation allegedly detailing illegal financing of the G17 Plus party has been submitted to the Council; although the anti-corruption team refute this, insisting that they were actually sent a private submission of Bank Recovery Agency director and money-laundering accused Nemanja Kolesar.

Another Broadcast Council member resigns
June 11, 2003 14:50 | B92

BELGRADE -- Wednesday A second member of the Broadcast Agency Council, Vladimir Vodinelic, resigned today after the Council refused to discuss his proposal that Kosovo representative Goran Radenovic be dismissed.

After leaving the Council session, Vodinelic told B92 that he could no longer take part in the work of the Council because the members were not concerned that some of them had been appointed in procedures which violated the laws.

“This time the Council has refused to do its legal duty,” said Vodinelic, quoting the Broadcast Act which stipulates that the Council will propose that the parliament dismiss any of its members who are found to have submitted untrue information in connection with their candidacy.

Three of the seven Council members who attended today’s meeting were in favour of Radenovic’s dismissal.

Controversial ninth member appointed by parliament
May 27, 2003 13:35 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Tuesday – The Serbian Parliament has today cleared the way for the Broadcast Agency Council to begin work by appointing Goran Radenovic as the ninth and final member of the independent body.

Regulations of the watchdog’s formation stipulate that the ninth member should live and work in Kosovo, and although Radenovic’s identity card, issued in 1994, states that he is a resident of Pec, Kosovo, he is believed to reside in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica after fleeing the troubled province in 1999.

MPs of both opposition and DOS parties have challenged the condition excluding Radenovic, who was nominated by previously appointed members of the Agency on 11 April.

After parliamentary speaker and acting Serbian president Natasa Micic introduced Radenovic as a journalist from Pec, his appointment received the backing of 137 MPs, with 59 opposed.

Those voting against included DOS members from Dragoljub Micunovic’s Democratic Centre and Nebojsa Covic’s Democratic Alternative.

Those voting in favour included the opposition’s Socialist Party of Serbia and People’s Party of Socialists.

During discussion of Radenovic’s proposed membership, MPs of Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia, New Serbia and the Serbian Radical Party expressed doubts that Radenovic lives and works in Kosovo, insisting that their information shows that he lives in Podgorica and works for TV PINK.

Amongst other things, the Agency will be responsible for the distribution of frequencies to the Serbian broadcast media.

Media associations object to monitoring appointments
April 18, 2003 20:29 | B92

BELGRADE -- Friday – Three of Serbia’s largest media associations have lodged a demand with the parliament for the dismissal of two members of the newly-appointed Broadcast Agency Council.

The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), the Spektar Association of Private Broadcasters and the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists claims irregularities in the appointment of Nenad Cekic and Vladimir Cvetkovic.

They also allege a potential conflict of interests.

The associations say that the appointments were in breach of media legislation which stipulate that the biographies of candidates for the Council must be published thirty days before their appointment.

“The public was bypassed in the process of nominating these people and deputies were not informed of the proposed candidates skills and abilities.

“There is reason to suspect that, Cvetkovic’s extremely radical opinion of his competition in the industry could significantly affect the objectivity of the Council’s work,” said the statement released today.

The three associations emphasised that their objection to the appointments in no way affected their determination to support the establishment of the Council.

The Broadcast Agency Council is to be established under Serbia’s new media legislation as a watchdog for breaches of broadcast regulations.


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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© 2003, B92