Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)

Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)

 

 

Academy on Media Law in South East Europe calls for more plurality of views in

media, proposes ways to increase trust in public service media

 

Participants of the second edition of the Academy on

Media Law in South East Europe proposed ways to increase pluralism of content and

views in the region and the independence and accountability of public service media,

at a three-day event that closed in Sarajevo today.

 

The Academy participants emphasised that a high number of media outlets in the

region does not equal plurality of views, content and sources. Although viewers can

choose between plenty of channels, political and economic interests prevent

pluralism of views. The participants agreed that there is a lack of qualitative data

on media pluralism. Surveys are needed to evaluate both internal pluralism, with

public service broadcasters to assess pluralism of content within public media, and

external pluralism, to assess pluralism of views in a particular country.

 

The Academy recommended that the public service media reach out to stakeholders,

including parliamentarians, media councils and civil society, in order to better

promote the role of public service broadcasters and the public service remit. Such a

step would be one of the preconditions for increasing trust in and accountability of

public service media, thus also helping public service broadcasters to decrease

attempts of political interference.

 

The participants agreed that a crucial aspect that hinders media pluralism is the

ownership structure of the media. While most countries have legislation in place

that prevents cross-ownership, media monopolies and political figures owning media,

this legislation is not always properly implemented. Media regulatory bodies and

anti-trust agencies should work closer together and be better empowered to monitor

ownership structures and impose, where necessary, sanctions.

 

Finally, the Academy participants concluded that clear legal provisions are needed

to regulate state advertising. Public institutions, including ministries, should be

required by law to make public and transparent all advertising expenditures in

public and private media. There should be clear criteria for the selection of

certain media for state advertising campaigns. These criteria should also take into

consideration the audience share the selected media reach.

 

The closing remarks at the Academy were delivered by Goran Svilanovic, Secretary

General of the Regional Cooperation Council; Ambassador Fletcher M. Burton, Head of

the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina; Tanja Topic, Head of the Banja Luka

Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation; Josip Popovac, Secretary General of the

European Association of Public Service Media in South East Europe; and Andris

Kesteris, Principal Adviser for Civil Society and Media at the Directorate General

for Enlargement of the European Commission.

 

The three-day event was implemented under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation

Council and in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the OSCE

Representative on Freedom of the Media, OSCE field operations in South East

Europe, the European Broadcasting Union, the European Association of Public

Service Media in South East Europe and ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free

Expression.

 

The Academy on Media Law seeks to enhance cooperation in the development and

implementation of progressive media legislation in South East Europe in line with

international and European media standards. It aims at safeguarding media freedoms

and the right to freedom of expression by sharing and learning from the best legal

frameworks and practices in the enforcement of media standards in the region.

 

It gathers media professionals, practicing media lawyers,

legislators/parliamentarians, government officials, members of media regulatory and

self-regulatory bodies, civil society and academia from South East Europe, dealing

with media freedom issues.

 

The information on the Academy on Media Law in South East Europe is available at

www.rcc.int<http://www.rcc.int>. More detailed conclusions and report on the

findings of the Academy will be posted at the website in the course of September.