Draft laws on media ownership transparency and advertising were presented in Sarajevo

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Source/Author: BHN
Source/Photo: BHN

SARAJEVO, 19.12.2018. –  In two and a half years of project implementation, the Consortium organized 18 events, involving more than 500 journalists, editors, media owners, government representatives, the advertising industry and the academic community, the international community and the civil sector.  A media campaign was lead  in which 3 TV and 5 radio shows were published, 4 radio bridges, 13 advertising contents and over 100 thematic and analytical texts, 15 editions of the E- jorunalists newsletter and more than 300 media reports on the activities of the Consortium.

Draft laws regulating the media ownership transparency, pluralism of information and the advertising market in Bosnia and Herzegovina were presented at the final conference of the project “Media and public credibility”.

Unlike the EU countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet had a comprehensive law on advertising or has in any way solved the issue of transparency of media ownership and media pluralism. The existing laws and regulations, which primarily regulate other areas, only partly relate to the area of media advertising and the financing of the media by public money, are not harmonized across the territory of the state of BiH, and in some segments and in practice they act even contradictory.

Media expert from the NGO JaBiHEU Samra Lučkin emphasized that the intention of the drafters is to provide the public with better and more objective information, more free media coverage, protection of journalists in the performance of tasks, and the media to fight equally on the market and ultimately increase the income.

“Laws also provide recommendations for strengthening self-regulation measures. Not only in terms of the Press Council, the Codex, but also in self-regulation in the advertising industry, which will include the media, advertisers and agencies themselves”, considers Lučkin.

Program menager of EU in BiH Vladimir Pandurević pointed out that these two laws are the result of efforts of the work of CSO’s and , and that media practicals who know the best what is necessary in media sector in BiH participated in the process.

„Public Credibility of Media carries the burden of society, which means – as society as media. There is room for improvement, but first you have to work in society. Two new laws should introduce European standards in the field of media, “Pandurevic said, adding that we do not have anything to do to get them even before entering the EU if they are quality and better than what we currently have.

Attorney at Law and Expert of Council of Europe from Zagreb Vesna Alaburić, who worked on the Draft Law on Transparency of Media Ownership, said that in the context of transparency of ownership, it is very important for the public to notify the media ownership in order to assess the information obtained but also the biggest problem is portals.

 

„The overall financial market situation on the media market is simply not good enough to ensure the stable operation of media publishers, and if they can not work positively, then the working conditions of journalists and the space of their freedom are not big enough.“-said Alaburić.

President of UMI (Media Industry Association)  and the director of HAYAT TV Elvir Švrakić emphasized the media owners themselves are unknown to public, nor is it known why they work or whether they have interests in editorial policy – which makes it is clear why these laws are needed.

„When adopting and enforcing laws, the media will increase its reputation in this society, which is disrupted by the appearance of a fake media that breaches professionalism.“, said  Švrakić.

Minister of Traffic and Communications of BiH, Ismir Jusko emphasized the importance of the cooperation of state institutions and NGO’s in bringing special state solution, and the proof of this are draft laws that are the draftzpresented today.

–”These laws will change a lot in the media and the ministry is actively involved in drafting the law, but we do not know whether other political factors will ultimately agree and can not influence it, but we hope the law will get support“, said Jusko emphasizing that everything that is productive and can have a positive outcome on the ground should be supported.

Draft law on media transparency ownership and protection of media pluralism in BiH and Draft Law on Advertising in BiH should be submitted to the parliamentary procedure in the forthcoming period.

Project “Media and public reputation” was started in 2016. with a goal to promote media ownership transparency and legitimate forms of media and advertising funding in BiH. The project was funded by the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, co-funded by the Embassy of the United States of America in BiH, and was implemented by a consortium comprised of the BH Journalists Association , the Media Centar Foundation, the Press Council in BiH and the NGO JaBiHEU. The project is ends on December 24, 2018.