October 19, 2023

19.10.2023 – Concerns over Media Laws in Serbia

The South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO) wishes to express its deep concern regarding proposed legal changes in Serbia. Changes to the media laws in Serbia contradict the internationally accepted standards and recommendations

According to the proposed Law on Electronic Media, cable-operators will be required to number channels as provided by law, with the obligation that public service programs go to the first places, followed by television with a national coverage – in Serbia these are TV Pink, TV Happy, TV B92 and TV Prva.

It is acceptable to put public service media at first place in the offer of cable operators, but then the schedule of private channels should be a matter of agreement and should not be defined in the law. According to the proposal, these will be penalties for critical TV channels.

Additional, according to the same proposal, if the cable operators do not reach an agreement on the price with the mentioned private televisions with national coverage, it will be determined by the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM).

It must be clear to the Serbian authorities, that it is inappropriate for the state to establish the prices and conditions under which private television programs will be distributed as part of cable operators’ offers and this could be used to control independent cable operators.

South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdniestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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