At the sitting held on 20 December 2022, the members of the Culture and Information Committee considered the reasons for the decision to suspend work at the Council of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM).
The Committee also considered the Bill amending and modifying the Public Service Media Law, as well as the Bill amending the Law on Temporary Regulation of Payment of Fees for the Public Service Media, submitted by the Government.
REM Council President Olivera Zekic spoke about the reasons for the suspension of work at the Council of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media, and, following a discussion, the Committee adopted, by majority vote, the Conclusion on the reasons for REM’s suspension of work:
Pursuant to Article 60 of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure, at the sitting held on 20 December 2022, the Culture and Information Committee adopted the following
The Culture and Information Committee provides unequivocal support to the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (hereinafter: REM) in the performance of tasks defined by law and reminds that REM was established by the Law on Electronic Media as an independent regulatory organisation, which exercises public authority in order to ensure: effective implementation of the established policy in the field of providing media services in the Republic of Serbia; improving the quality and diversity of electronic media services; contribution to the preservation, protection and development of freedom of thought and expression; in order to protect the interests of the public in the field of electronic media and to protect users of electronic media services, in accordance with the provisions of this law, in a manner appropriate to a democratic society.
The Committee expects REM to act professionally, autonomously and independently in the performance of its responsibilities and to exercise its powers in a fully objective manner.
The Committee condemns any influence on the independence and objectivity of REM's work, as well as any type of threat directed towards REM or the individuals representing this body. The Committee understands the REM Council's decision to suspend the work of REM. The Committee believes that the work of REM and the safety of members of the Council, as well as all REM employees, are seriously endangered by threats, pressures and insults that have been directed at REM as a whole and individual members of the REM Council over a long period of time. Threats, pressure, insults and targeting culminated on 8 December 2022, when a swastika was drawn with the acronym REM at the entrance to the building of the Deputy President of the REM Council. The same Nazi symbolism was drawn in the same place a few months ago. Such pressures are in direct opposition to basic democratic principles, based on the presumption of tolerance of different opinions and independence of institutions.
The Committee reminds that the law prohibits pressure on members of the Council and employees of the REM services in the decision-making process based on tender documents. The Committee appeals to all political and media actors to defend the independence of REM and to enable it to work smoothly, in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Serbia. The Culture and Information Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia strongly condemns all threats, pressures and insults.
Dejan Stojanovic then proceeded to present the Bill amending and modifying the Public Service Media Law, as well as the Bill amending the Law on Temporary Regulation of Payment of Fees for the Public Service Media, on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications.
Both bills were adopted by majority vote.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Sinisa Kovacevic and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Stasa Stojanovic, Nebojsa Bakarec, Edis Durgutovic, Prof. Dr Tamara Milenkovic Kerkovic, Rozalia Okresz, Branko Vukajlovic, Dragana Miljanic, Aleksandar Jugovic, Dr Danijela Grujic, Milorad Bojovic, Dusan Maric, Natasa Jovanovic, Tatjana Manojlovic, Lepomir Ivkovic and Natasa Bogunovic.