10 March 2022 Participants of the meeting

10 March 2022 Participants of the meeting

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Election Campaign Supervisory Board Meets with ODIHR Representatives

The members of the Election Campaign Supervisory Board met with representatives of the ODIHR observation mission.


In the course of the meeting, scheduled at the initiative of the ODIHR Observation Mission, several topics related to the work of the Election Campaign Supervisory Board were raised. The representatives of the Observation Mission were interested in learning more about the Supervisory Board’s mission and mode of operation (meeting dynamics, decision-making process, etc.), powers to intervene (for example in instances of media bias), its key findings so far, recommendations for media coverage of the election campaign, challenges faced by the Supervisory Board, cooperation with the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring during the Election Campaign and the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media.

The Head of the ODIHR Observation Mission Douglas Wake informed the participants about the mandate of the Mission, present in the Republic of Serbia since 23 February 2022 when it held its first press conference. The Mission resides in the Republic of Serbia, at the invitation of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic Electoral Commission. At the moment, there are 15 Mission representatives and 26 long-term observers on the entire territory of the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade for the purpose of impartial observation of the election process and implementation of international obligations. In accordance with the ODIHR methodology, the first report will be published in a week and cover the period from December 2021, when the Needs Assessment Mission visited Belgrade. Wake announced that, just before the elections scheduled for 3 April 2022, the arrival of 250 short-term observers from OSCE participating states, as well as three parliamentary delegations from the OSCE, Council of Europe and the European Parliament are expected. On Monday, 4 April 2022, the ODIHR will publish a preliminary report and present it at a press conference attended by representatives of these parliamentary delegations, and two months after the elections, a final report with recommendations will be published to help the Republic of Serbia improve the election process.

Supervisory Board Chairman Svetislav Goncic informed the attending about the composition of the Supervisory Board, mode of operation and competencies, pointing out that, due to continuity of the Board’s work, i.e. experience gained during the 2020 parliamentary elections, there are certain ideas on how to improve its MOD, which will be implemented in the current mandate. He said that, in line with its competencies as defined by law, the Supervisory Board strives to establish and improve contacts with all interested parties and that it is fully open to cooperation with all entities. To that end, the Supervisory Board had issued a press release last week to call on all interested parties to contact it in order to improve both its work and the entire election process.

Speaking of the Supervisory Board’s role and competencies, Supervisory Board member Prof. Dr Miodrag Savovic said that there are currently four bodies in the election process whose function is to improve the election process: the Republic Election Commission (REC), Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM), Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring and the Election Campaign Supervisory Board, so a special distinction needs to be made between the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring and the Election Campaign Supervisory Board, especially since the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring is the result of certain political compromises, while the Supervisory Board was formed in accordance with the Law on Election of MPs which defines its competencies. As for the nature of the competencies of these two bodies, he pointed out that the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring is an advisory body, while the Supervisory Board is a control body, and speaking of media, the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring can give recommendations, while the Supervisory Board is control body can demand and implement certain measures.

The Supervisory Board Chairman went on to inform the guests that the Supervisory Board has the same competencies regarding the presidential elections as well, that it uses the reports of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media, which REM regularly publishes, as good practice learned during the last parliamentary elections, and that it is soon to have a meeting with the representatives of the Temporary Supervisory Body for Media Monitoring as regards some of their common competencies. Speaking of the Supervisory Board’s work so far and being approached by some of the actors of the election process, the Supervisory Board Chairman said that the election process is still at the beginning and is expected to gait full momentum in the coming period. He informed the guests that a political party had addressed the Board with a request within its competence and that said request would be reviewed at a Supervisory Board meeting.

Supervisory Board member Jelena Milenkovic Orlic informed the guests that all minutes of the Supervisory Board meetings are published on the Supervisory Board’s web presentation which is part of the National Assembly web presentation, and that in addition to the minutes, all the information and documents generated in the work of the Board are also published there, adding that anyone can contact the Supervisory Board via e-mail, which is available on the web presentation. She also pointed out that, after its constitution on 28 February 2022, the Supervisory Board called on all the participants in the election process, including NGOs, to address the Supervisory Board, which takes its role very seriously because, in addition to its competencies prescribed by law, it is also creating a work practice to be applied in the future. She added that at the sitting which is to follow this meeting, the Supervisory Board would consider certain recommendations for all the actors participating in the election campaign concerning informing the public about the programmes of the political parties and the so-called "functionary campaigns". She pointed out that the new Law on Election of MPs had resolved certain ambiguities that existed in the previous law regarding the Supervisory Board’s competence as regards the media, i.e. the Law now clearly defines that the Supervisory Board is competent only for public media services Radio Television of Serbia and Radio Television of Vojvodina.

On behalf of the ODIHR Observation Mission, the meeting was attended by Head of Mission Douglas Wake, Media Analyst Marek Mracka, Media Analyst Dumitru Lazur, Assistant Media Analyst Dimitrije Bolta and Sladjana Bursac, Assistant Head of Mission and translator.

On behalf of the Election Campaign Supervisory Board, the meeting was attended by Chairman Svetislav Goncic and Supervisory Board members: Boris Bajic, Marjan Jovanovic, Jelena Milenkovic Orlic, Prof. Dr Miodrag Savovic, Aleksandar Stamatovic and Samra Fetahovic.



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