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Transparency of media ownership – premise for fight against corruption

Transparency – Serbia considers that Law on Transparency of Media Ownership is one of the most important regulations that are still missing in anticorruption legal framework of Republic of Serbia. Therefore, we express our concern for delay in organizing public debate on this matter, even besides the fact that in the scope of Ministry of Culture even in 2008 draft Law was created that should organize that matter and that adoption of that Law was envisaged with Coalition agreement of ruling parties (2012.).

At the moment, situation in Serbia is such that it isn’t possible to find out complete data on actual owners of enterprises who established media. That became clear in latest case when Mr Miroslav Mišković declared in public to renounce majority ownership in daily paper „Press“even though he wasn’t enlisted as an owner into register of Business Registers Agency.[1]

Besides data on ownership structure, Transparency – Serbia feels that it is equally important to provide full publicity of data on financing of media from any public source and in any form(subsidies, procurements, financing of projects from the budget, advertisements etc), as well as data on political advertizing. We remind that Transparency – Serbia in the scope of monitoring of election campaign financing for May elections 2012[2] determined that many municipalities paid advertisements that promote local officials as well as that parts of financial reports of political parties were published on the web page of the Anticorruption Agency, that could show how much was paid to which broadcasting station or to newspapers for advertizing, are still unavailable[3].

Transparency – Serbia

Belgrade, 13 November 2012

[1] According to available data of the Business Registry Agency, 50% of ownership belong to enterprise AMBER PRESS LIMITED from Cyprus.

[3] From published parts of financial reports of campaign for May elections individually paid amounts to broadcasting stations and newspapers could be seen, but not the media concerned.