Vienna, 24 Mai 2021
The Vienna South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is alarmed by continuing deterioration of press freedom in Belarus.
Detainment of Roman (Raman) Protasevich (Раман Дзмітрыевіч Пратасевіч), 26, following the forced diversion of a Ryanair aircraft on a scheduled flight from Athens to Vilnius (flight FR4978) is against all laws and international standards. He was arrested at the Minsk National Airport on 23 May 2021 after the Belarusian authorities removed him from a Ryanair flight that was forced to land in Belarus. Protasevich is a journalist and co-founder of the Nexta channel on Telegram (messaging app for smartphones). Nexta and Nexta Live now have nearly two million subscribers and posts included crowd-sourced photos and videos of police brutality in Belarus. The Nexta team is based in Poland. Protasevich works since March 2021 as editor for Belamova, a different Telegram channel.
His girlfriend Sofia Sapega, 23, was also arrested after the plane landed in Minsk. She is a Russian citizen and a law student in Lithuania.
It is a clear “state sponsored” plane hijacking. SEEMO demands the immediate release of Roman Protasevich and other journalists detained in Belarus.
Belarus has been tightly-controlled by Alexander Lukashenko since 1994
On 18 May 2021 Belarusian officials announced the launch of a criminal case against the leadership of Tut.by, Belarus’s most prominent independent media outlet. Financial police searched the homes and offices of the publication’s journalists and at least 11 Tut.by employees were detained. The authorities also blocked Tut.by’s website. Security forces came also to the offices of online media Hoster.by and av.by.
According to Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) Alexander Burakou, who collaborates with Deutsche Welle, received 20 days of administrative arrest for alleged “repeated participation in an unauthorized event within a year”. Burakou was detained on 12 May 2021 near Mahiliou regional court building. Uladzimir Laptsevich, reporter of 6tv.by received a similar sentence — 20 days of arrest.
Tut.by journalist Lyubov Kasperovich was given 15 days in police custody for attending a mass event.
Journalist Tatyana Kapitonova was accused of taking part in an unsanctioned rally and jailed for 10 days.
Over 100 people, including five journalists, were detained in late March 2021. One of them was Yazep Palubiatka a journalist working for the Belarusian newspaper Hazeta Slonimskaya, who was summoned by the police on 22 March 2021.
On 18 February Belsat TV journalist Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Kaciaryna Andreeva ) and camerawoman Darya Chultsova (Daria Chultsova ) were sentenced to two years in prison for reporting on the ongoing anti-government protests.
Journalist Katerina Borisevich was arrested in November 2020 and on 2 March 2021 a Minsk court sentenced Borisevich to six months in prison and 1,150 USD in fines. She was released from custody on 19 May 2021, taking into account time already served.
According to the Belarusian Association of Journalist (https://baj.by/) In 2020, 480 detentions of journalists were recorded in Belarus.
In 2020, there were 97 cases of journalists serving administrative arrests in Belarus.
In 2020, journalists spent more than 1,200 days behind bars in Belarus.
In 2020, after Election Day on 9 August, at least 62 cases of physical violence against journalists were recorded in Belarus.
The list includes incidents which the Belarusian Association of Journalists regards as violations of journalists’ rights, committed by representatives of the authorities.
Vienna, 24 May 2021
The Vienna South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is concerned about the fact that public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo – Radio Televizioni i Kosovës (RTK), continues to be subject to political pressure in Kosovo.
The key problem in this regard is the failure to find a sustainable way to finance the public broadcaster, as RTK is still financed by the state budget, jeopardizing its editorial and institutional independence. Article 4 of the RTK Law stipulates that: “The Assembly shall ensure the institutional autonomy and adequate financing for the execution of RTK’s public service mission”. However, according to the situation in this moment, RTK has still not received the expected allocation from the budget for the execution of its work and mission in society. The Assembly of Kosovo shall ensure the institutional autonomy and adequate financing for the execution of RTK’s public service mission.
SEEMO is additional alarmed about the fact that according to the plans for the year 2022, Government is planning to cut the budget of RTK from 11,200,000 EUR that is actual to 8,960,000 EUR.
In 2018, the Kosovo Parliament approved a new draft Law on RTK, which includes a mixed-financing mechanism, mainly from subscriptions–2.50 EUR per household to be collected through electricity bills and a small percentage (0.4 percent) of the state budget. However, connected to this draft nothing has moved.
It is a priority to improve the RTK Law and establishing a sustainable legal and financial framework, which will enable the development of Public Service Media in Kosovo. RTK shall play its important role for information to citizens, including education and entertainment especially in pandemics. Without appropriate funding PSM cannot fulfil its broad remit to society, serving minorities and vulnerable groups.
SEEMO is also greatly concerned by the proposal of quarterly reporting to Parliament, which we believe exposes RTK to potential undue political
interference. RTK should report to the Parliament annually as foreseen in the law. The annual reporting fully satisfies the needs for disclosure of expenditures and realization of the obligations.
Additional pressure on RTK is following formulation: “The Commission underlines that the expenses for the period April-June must comply with the provisions of the Law on Managing Public Finances and cannot be used for expenditures of prior obligations without approval of changes in Projection 2021”. This leaves RTK in the position that courts executors can block the RTK bank account even though RTK has a planned debt return program.
Finally, the privatisation agency of Kosovo is launching a procedure to privatize the RTK building. We urge the Assembly of Kosovo to find a solution that will enable RTK to pursue its work in the interest of society and not be undermined by this new development. RTK must work without interruption in the program and with no outside influence on broadcasting.
We would like to remind the politicians in Kosovo, including all members of the Parliament of Kosovo, the President of Kosovo, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, and all members of the government, that freedom of expression, freedom of media and freedom of information are cornerstone rights of any democratic society, whereby citizens can receive and impart information on a range of topics, and regarding matters of public importance. Members of parliament or government and other politicians from the ruling party and from the opposition in Kosovo cannot have any influence on the content of programs / editorial policy of the Public Broadcaster RTK.
Institutional independence is an absolute prerequisite for public trust in Public Service Media. Independence is one of the most important principles embedded in every democracy and according to all international standards. Public service broadcasters must be an important public source of unbiased information and diverse political opinions.
Ukraine: Dialogue instead of Monologue, in cooperation with SEEMO, 29 March 2017, Vienna, Austria – agenda
Wednesday, March 29 at 7 PM – 8 PM
Republikanischer Club; Rockhgasse 1, 1010 Wien, Österreich
A solution for the conflict in Ukraine is not to be seen anywhere. While the Trilateral Contact Group is painfully struggling for at least some progress in their negotiations, the humanitarian situation of the people is dramatic – particularly in the areas near to the contact line in Eastern Ukraine. Aides and OSCE observers on the ground are under pressure, as are journalists and artists. The rivalling political narratives present a picture of several monologues competing with each other rather than a sorely needed dialogue about the living and working conditions of the groups mentioned, as well as the ideological differences within Ukrainian society.
The Austrian Platform for Dialogue and Conflict Resolution in Ukraine is an alliance committed to a large number of dialogue supporting initiatives in Ukraine. They are to be implemented in 2017 – the year of the Austrian OSCE presidency – with a view to long-term effects. The panel discussion will give information about the projects envisaged and show existing and future possibilities for dialogue and conflict resolution in Ukraine. The discussion will be held in English
Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 7.00 p.m.
Venue Republikanischer Club, Rockhgasse 1, 1010 Vienna
Artist, author and photographer, Kiev/Kyiv (Belorusets Yevgenia)
Manager of Foreign Aid Caritas, Vienna (CaritasVienna)
Mediator, director of the Institute for Peace and Common Ground, Kiev/Kyiv (Інститут миру і порозуміння)
Journalist, general secretary of SEEMO (South East Europe Media Organisation), Vienna (Seemo)
MEP ret., president of the International Institute for Peace, Vienna
Please register: Claudia Hofer, firstname.lastname@example.org
In cooperation with
Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (Friedensburg Schlaining)
Die Grüne Bildungswerkstatt (Grüne Bildungswerkstatt)
Herbert C. Kelman Institute (http://kelmaninstitute.org/)
Gesellschaft für Eurasische Studien
Karl Renner Institute (Karl-Renner-Institut)
Conference Public Broadcasting in Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with SEEMO, Sarajevo, 13-14 June, 2017, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – agenda
Tuesday 13 June 2017
Tuesday 13 June 2017
09:00-09:15 Welcome addresses
Mr Denis Zvizdić, President of Council of Ministers of BiH
Mrs Dejana Radovanović Šarenac, President of BHRT Supervisory Board
Key notes speeches:
Mr Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the European Broadcasting Union
10:00-11:00 Challenges for public service media in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Financial, legal, ethnic, political challenges for PSM in BiH; remit; role for democracy; role for social cohesion; European standards
Chair: Borka Rudić
Panelists: Mr Belmin Karamehmedović, Director General of BHRT, Mr Frane Maroević, Director of OSCE RoFM, Paco Audije, Member of the Broadcasting Expert Group at the European Federation of Journalists, Mr Predrag Kovač, Director of CRA Discussion
11:00-12:30 Urgent help for BHRT
Political will; Financial help; Audience support to BHRT
Chair: Mufid Memija
Panelists: Momčilo Novaković, MP, Sead Kadić, MP, Nikola Lovrinović, MP, Mr Denis Zvizdić, Chairman of Council of Ministers of BiH, Ismir Jusko, Minister of Transport & Communications, Mr Marko Filli, Member of the EBU Executive Board, Oliver Vujović, Secretary General of South East Europe Media Organisation SEEMO
13:30-14:30 Current political setting for public service media
CoE standards on minorities and their representation in media; experience of constitutional nations and minorities; Swiss model; Spanish model
Chair: Borka Rudić
Panelists: Mr Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of the EBU, Dr Juan Barata Mir, international expert on freedom of expression and media regulation, Fellow at the Centre for Internet & Human Rights, Germany
14:30-15:00 Special session with Tanja Fajon, Member of European Parliament
Chair: Boris Bergant
15:30-17:00 Sustainability of PSM system in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Changes of the system; Legal changes; Croatian channel
Chair: Mr Boris Bergant, EBU
Panelists: Ivan Vukoja, representative of HNS, Mr Belmin Karamehmedović, Director General BHRT, Mr Džemal Šabić, Director General of RTVFBiH, Mr Draško Milinović, Director General of RTRS, Patrick Penninckx, Council of Europe Head of Information Society Department, Dunja Mijatović, Former OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media
Wednesday 14 June 2017
09:00-11:30 Proposals for PSM in BiH
Chair: Mr Boris Bergant, European Broadcasting Union
Panelists: EBU, CoE, EFJ, OSCE, BHRT, SEEMO,
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Bulgaria, December 2007, by SEEMO in cooperation with Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and and Austrian Ministry for Foregin Affairs (BMEIA).
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Albania, Tirana, Albania by SEEMO in cooperation with Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Albanian Institute for Media, Tirana and and Austrian Ministry for Foregin Affairs (BMEIA)
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Serbia, Babe, Serbia, by SEEMO in cooperation with Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and and Austrian Ministry for Foregin Affairs (BMEIA).
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Croatia, Opatija, Croatia, by SEEMO.
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, by SEEMO.
Meeting of Investigative Journalists in Poland, Warsaw, Poland by SEEMO.
May 16th, Mon
May 17th, Tue
Keynote speech by Nuri M. Çolakoğlu, President, Dogan Media International, İstanbul: “Media in Turkey”
Key Lecture: Halil Nalçaoğlu, Istanbul Bilgi University Lecture: Prof. Adem Ayten, Istanbul University: Learning from History of Journalism in Turkey
Workshop by Esra Arsan , Faculty of Communication, Bilgi University, Istanbul
Workshop by Ceyhan Kandemir , Faculty of Communication, Istanbul University
May 18th, Web
Key Lecture Prof. Thomas Bauer, University of Vienna: Media Usage in context of Social Change.
SEEMO Panel: Press Freedom Situation in South, East and Central Europe
Anthony Mills, Press Freedom Manager, IPI, Vienna Radomir Licina, Co-owner and Senior Editor Daily Danas Belgrade, SEEMO Board Member, IPI Board Member Erol Onderoglu, BIANET, editor in chief, Istanbul Máté Stiglincz, Center for Independent Journalism, Budapest Kadri Gursel. Vice president of IPI Turkey and columnist of Milliyet, Istanbul
Chairperson : Ferai Tınç, Foreign Policy Editor Hurriyet, IPI Board member, Istanbul
Situation in Middle East and North Africa and Media
Anthony Mills, Press Freedom Manager, IPI, Vienna Wieland Schneider, Foreign Policy Editor, Die Presse, Vienna
Chairperson: Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General
Presentation of the project Belgrade Media Days and Okto TV Vienna / Okto TV Belgrade
Prof. Nada Popovic Perisic, Dean, Faculty for Media and Communication, University Singidunum Belgrade Chairperson: Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General
May 19th, Thurs
Key Lecture: Haluk Şahin Istanbul Bilgi University Guest Lectures: Serkan Demirtas, Hürryet Daily News, Istanbul: Challenges and Future Perspectives of Journalism in Turkey
SEEMO Workshop, Intercultural Environment and Media and Cultural Conflicts
Emilija Mancic, Researcher, University of Vienna, Vienna Prof. Cigdem Bozdag, University of Bremen,Bremen
Chairperson : Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General May 20th, Fri 11:00
Cultural-Old City Tour
Ekrem Dumanlı, Zaman newspaper, Istanbul
Matija Babić Founder, Index.hr, Zagreb
Special guests – SEEMO
Phillipp Schmallegger, University of Vienna, Vienna Kristina Stevancevic, Assistant, Faculty for Media and Communication Singidunum Belgrade Participants University Vienna: Gülü, Yilmaz, University of Vienna, Vienna Harrer, Sabine; University of Vienna, Vienna Jimenez, Nicole University of Vienna, Vienna Lumetsberger, Sandra University of Vienna, Vienna Mair, Stefan, University of Vienna, Vienna Mairhofer, Susanne, University of Vienna, Vienna Mittlbach, Corinna, University of Vienna, Vienna Prummer, Andreas, University of Vienna, Vienna Sahin, Zeki, University of Vienna, Vienna Salleh, Sabariah, University of Vienna, Vienna Yanilmaz, Sümeyra University of Vienna, Vienna