Associations of citizens, journalists and the media demand that the responsible institutions urgently take concrete steps in order to fulfill the demands of the citizens’ protests. For years, we have been pointing out the destructive effect of media content that promotes violence, spreads panic, misinformation, malicious content and manipulation. This kind of media scene developed solely because the laws in this country are systematically circumvented, and the institutions (judicial, ministries, independent bodies) do not react to the violation of existing laws and accompanying subordinate legislation.
The citizens of Serbia have very clearly identified the problems and, among the demands they made after two tragic events that devastated our country, they demand from the responsible institutions, among other things: the replacement of the REM Council, the revocation of TV PINK and TV HAPPY national broadcasting licenses, the shutdown of print media and tabloids that publish fake news, falsehoods and continuously violate the journalistic code.
Bearing in mind the above-mentioned requests, associations of citizens, journalists and media call on:
1.MPs in the National Assembly of Serbia to initiate the replacement of REM Council members in accordance with Article 16 of the Law on Electronic Media;
2.The Prime Minister to, as soon as possible, in accordance with the priorities of the Media Strategy, initiate the adoption of amendments and additions under the urgent procedure to the Law on Electronic Media, which refer to the articles of the Law that regulate:
- Authorized nominators of Council members, so that parliamentary committees of the National Assembly and the Assembly of AP Vojvodina cannot be nominators of Council members;
- Criteria and conditions that must be met by candidates for Council members;
- Election of the new composition of the REM Council immediately after the adoption of the amendments to the Law.
3.The proposers of the law to, according to Article 9 of the Law on Electronic Media (accredited universities, churches and religious communities, national councils of national minorities, associations of publishers and associations of journalists, associations of film, stage and drama artists and associations of composers in the Republic of Serbia, associations of citizens whose goals are realization of freedom of expression and protection of children) invite, in the capacity of their proposers, the members of the REM Council to submit their resignations;
4.Government representatives, public companies and all institutions founded by the state to immediately stop all forms of media funding that violate the law on any basis, including advertising, projects, public procurement, etc.;
5.The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office to respond without exception and without delay to any form of promotion and call for violence in the media, in accordance with the powers prescribed in Article 59 of the Law on Public Information and Media;
6.Courts to decide on the lawsuit filed by associations of citizens due to the illegal decision of the REM Council to renew the national broadcasting licenses of televisions that violated the laws.
7.After the decision of the courts, the new composition of the REM Council must conduct a new round for the award of national licenses respecting the conditions prescribed by the Law and the code on the minimum conditions for the provision of media services.
This initiative, which aims to solve the current crisis within institutions, is based on the findings of international institutions, the findings of REM, domestic experts and domestic organizations that deal with the topic of the media and media regulation.
In alphabetical order:
Association of Online Media (AOM)
Autonomous Women’s Center
Belgrade Center for Security Policy
Belgrade Center for Human Rights
Center for contemporary politics
Center for European policy (CEP)
European movement in Serbia
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights YUCOM
Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV)
Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS)
New optimism movement
Business association of the Association of Local and Independent Media “Local Press”
Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation