The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), welcomes the joint stand, by Serbian journalist associations, on media independence. The associations include: The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM); The Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS); The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia(NUNS); The Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (NDNV) and; Local Press.
It is necessary to secure transparency of ownership of the media through the amendment of legal regulations, and information about this must be publicly available. This information should include the names of companies, ownership percentages and the names of the companies’ owners. SEEMO also supports the abolishment of the legal regulation that prevents foreigners from holding majority stakes in the media and asks for constant monitoring of ownership changes in the media, with the aim of preventing the violation of transparency regulations.
SEEMO would like to note again that Serbia must have legal mechanisms to prevent the creation of monopolies on the media market
SEEMO also calls for a complete withdrawal of the state from ownership in the media. All media should be private, except the Public Broadcasting Service. This means that state shares in the media are needed neither in exclusive nor partial and mixed ownership.
Finally, SEEMO supports equal treatment of all media on the Serbian market. It is important to have favourable legal and economic conditions for the media to survive and develop on the market.
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: “Media independence is fundamental for every society. It is not acceptable for governments to seek ways to undermine such independence by creating state-controlled or state-financed media or by tolerating monopolies.”