CONFERENCE PROGRAM
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS/GUESTS
CONCLUSIONS
PRESS PHOTO GALLERY SRPSKI
TELECOMUNICATIONS ACTS AND LAWS OF FRY AND REPUBLIC SERBIA

TRANSFORMATION OF BROADCASTERS IN FRY

Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although, unfortunately, I cannot be with you today, as my duties require my presence in Strasbourg, I am very pleased and honoured to be given the opportunity to convey to you my best wishes for a successful conference.

I consider the topic of this event to be of utmost importance for the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its involvement in European construction, as there cannot be any genuine democracy without freedom of expression and information and the existence of a plurality of independent media.

Full respect for the right of all individuals to receive and impart information, ideas and opinions without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers is for the Council of Europe a fundamental prerequesite for accession to the Organisation, in line with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This implies that the electronic media, which will be the focus of your conference, can develop an independent editorial policy which reflects the variety of views and opinions in society, given their impact on the public and their central role in shaping public debate and forming public opinion.

The private broadcast media, both commercial and non-commercial, must be one of the pillars of the democratic broadcasting system that will be at the core of your discussions. This requires that they can operate on the basis of a clear and secure legal framework which allows them to develop without any risk of undue interference, in particular by public authorities, while respecting legitimate public interests such as respect for human dignity and the sensitivity of minors or the non-apology of violence or racial hatred.

Over and above these private media, one must not lose sight of the specific and crucial contribution which public service broadcasting organisations can and must have, as a forum for public discussion where all views, opinions and cultures can express themselves.

Like all of you, I believe that, beyond the establishment of a proper regulatory framework for the private electronic media, a major task ahead will be the transformation of the RTS into a genuine independent broadcasting organisation.

The transition to a democratic broadcasting system in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will require the firm commitment of all the parties concerned, and in particular the public authorities, which will have to demonstrate a constant spirit of openness and accept public scrutiny and public criticism.

The international community has a duty to provide assistance to this process if its wants lasting peace, stability and democracy to be established in the region of south-east Europe.

I can assure you that the Council of Europe, on the basis of its long-standing expertise in the area of media law and policy, is willing to take an active part in this process. In this perspective, the conclusions and recommendations which you will prepare at the end of the conference will be of crucial importance and I look forward to receiving them.

In the meantime, I wish you again a successful discussion.

message from Mr Walter Schwimmer Secretary General of the Council of Europe


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