HRA welcomes the decision of the Parliamentary Committee for Political System, Judiciary and Administration to accept the initiative of HRA and organize consultative hearing – debate – on the need for amendments to the Media Act. This is a very important step towards the modernization of primary systemic media law, which is crucial for freedom of expression and the public’s right to information. Particularly encouraging is the fact that the Committee has unanimously decided that such a discussion is needed. We expect that the hearing be scheduled as soon as the Parliament starts its work in 2016.
On 10 November HRA submitted an initiative to the Committee on holding consultative debate on the need for amending the Media Act. In support of the initiative we submitted Proposed amendments to the Media Act, drafted in July 2015 by the working group composed of Azra Jasavić, MP, Draginja Vuksanović, MP, Dragoljub Duško Vuković, journalist and media analyst, Goran Đurović, Chairman of the Committee of RTCG Council for Petitions and Complaints of Listeners and Viewers and Chairman of the Board of NGO coalition Through Cooperation to Goals, Jadranka Vojvodić, Deputy Director of the Agency for Electronic Media and Tea Gorjanc Prelević, HRA Executive Director. This project was implemented with the support of the Australian Embassy in Belgrade.
In addition to the amendments which should contribute to harmonization of the Media Act with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, the working group also proposed establishing a comprehensive fund for media pluralism, prescribing procedures and criteria for transparent state advertising in the media, as well as specifying the rights of journalists in relation to the media owners.
At the session held on 7 December 2015, the Committee concluded the following:
“On the occasion of deciding on a Consultative hearing on the need for amending the Media Act, as per the initiative of NGO Human Rights Action, the Committee unanimously concluded that on the basis of the aforementioned initiative, all processed draft laws in this area and the issues mentioned in the Report of the European Commission on Montenegro’s progress in 2015, it is necessary to organize a consultative hearing (debate) in the coming period. In this regard, the Committee will invite all the proponents and competent professionals to contribute to enhancing and improving issues in this area.” (http://www.skupstina.me/index.php/me/odbor-za-politicki-sistem-pravosude-i-upravu/aktuelnosti/item/4615-odrzana-107-sednica-odbora-za-politicki-sistem-pravosude-i-upravu)
Human Rights Action team