Committee Sittings outside of the National Assembly Seat
Friday, 19 June 2015
33rd Sitting of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality
At the sitting held on 19 June in Dimitrovgrad, the members of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality discussed the role of the national councils of national minorities and the local communities in the realisation of national minority rights and the right to information in national minority languages.
The national minority representatives had, from the very beginning, a slew of complaints to the set of media laws passed last year, and adopted a number of conclusions on the subject that they sent to the Ministry of Culture and Media for consideration, said Omerovic.
The Ministry representatives were adamant that the privatisation of the media does not in any way eliminate broadcasting in national minority languages, stressing that the owner of the media is obliged by law not to change the programme schedule in the next five years.
Meho Omerovic said that the Committee would support the representatives of the national minority councils in the conclusions within the Committee’s purview.
The participants pointed out the problem that the privatisation of media broadcasting programmes in national minority languages which are funded from the local self-government budget would cause, because they believe it would lead to their elimination. They cited the obligations the Republic of Serbia has in connection with EU Negotiation Chapter 23, considering that the Draft Action Plan for the chapter lists obligatory steady funding guaranteeing the sustainability of media in minority languages.
At the end of the sitting the Committee agreed to request urgent consultation with the Ministry of Culture and Media on these issues and employ other measures at its disposal to protect the right to information in national minority languages.
Besides the Committee members, the sitting was attended by representatives of the national minority councils: Bulgarian, Romanian, Vlach and Macedonian, representatives of the local self-government, media and NGOs from Dimitrovgrad, Bosilegrad, Pirot and Zajecar.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Meho Omerovic.
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