BELGRADE – New rules for the entry in the media registry will be applied as of February 13, said Sasa Mirkovic, state secretary at the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information, adding that thereby, for the first time, the data on media ownership and subsidies will be made public.
Mirkovic said that the registry will provide an insight into the number of media outlets in Serbia, given that the data of the Business Registers Agency do not show their exact number in Serbia.
A total of 1,363 media outlets are registered, but their number is on a constant increase, he added. “I am quite certain that it will be determined that we have a large number of media outlets, bearing in mind the economic situation and budgets for advertising,” said Mirkovic.
A competition for co-financing of media contents that are in the public interest is under way, Mirkovic said and announced that another competition will be opened by the end of 2015 so as to make it possible for the media, which are to undergo privatization, to apply.
At the panel discussion entitled “Why there are no unions in the private media in Serbia”, organized by the Union of Journalists of Serbia, Mirkovic said he has not received any proof of the allegations presented in the research dubbed “The media scene in Serbia 2014”, conducted by the Union of Journalists of Serbia (based on the project of the Ministry of Culture and Information), that media owners indirectly prohibit the establishment of trade unions.
The panel also touched on the reasons why unions in Serbia are inactive, the difficult position of journalists, and also the fate of the media after privatization.
Renate Schroeder, director of the European Federation of Journalists, commented on the experiences in Europe, noting that journalists and their unions are in a difficult situation, that they are being exploited by the owners, and pointed to the fact that an increasing number of journalists work as freelancers.
She said that the European Commission is taking measures to prevent and deter illegal employment of media workers, stressing the importance of the unionization.
The panel discussion also brought together representatives of unions in Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro, who spoke about their experiences.