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
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.