Media and Public Credibility: Draft laws on Media ownership transparency and advertising were introduced

Unlike the countries of the European Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina hasn’t had a comprehensive Advertising law and has in no way solved the issue of transparency of media ownership and media pluralism“, as concluded on the final conference of the project “Media and Public Credibility” on which the draft laws for regulating media ownership transparency, pluralism of information and advertising market in Bosnia and Herzegovina were introduced.

The existing laws and regulations, which primarily regulate other areas, only partly relate to the area of media advertising and the media financing by public money. Additionally in some segments they are not harmonized across the state territory of BiH and in practice they act even contradictory, as stated on the conference.

The project “Media and Public Credibility”, founded by the EU in BiH, aims to promote the transparency of media ownership and legitimate forms of media and advertising funding in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is implemented by a Consortium formed by the BH Journalists Association, the Foundation Media centre, Press Council in BiH and the NGO JaBiHEU.

Vladimir Pandurević, the program manager of the EU Delegation to BiH, emphasized that these two draft laws came out as a results of efforts  of civil society organizations and that media practitioners, who know best what is needed in the media sector, are involved in its elaboration.

The Public Credibility of media carries the burden of society, which means – like society like media. There is room for improvement, but first we need to work on the society. Two new laws should introduce European standards in the domain of media activity “emphasized Pandurević.

Attorney at Law and Council of Europe’s expert from Zagreb Vesna Alaburić, who worked on the draft laws, highlights that the biggest problem are internet portals and that it is very important to inform the public about the ownership of media in order for the public to esteem the information received. ” The overall situation in  media market is simply not financially sufficient to ensure the stable operation of media publishers, and if they cannot operate in a stable manner, then the working conditions of journalists, and the space of their freedom is not big  enough,“  considers Alaburić.

Minister of Traffic and Communications of BiH, Ismir Jusko emphasized the importance of the cooperation between state institutions and governmental and non-governmental organizations in the process of adopting special state solutions and the proof of this are draft laws presented today.

These laws will change a lot in the media and the ministry is actively involved in drafting the law, but we do not know whether other political factors will ultimately agree and cannot influence it, but we hope the law will be supported“, said Jusko emphasizing that everything that is productive and can have a positive outcome in practice should be supported.

Draft law on media transparency ownership and protection of media pluralism in BiH and Draft Law on Advertising in BiH should be submitted to the parliamentary procedure in the forthcoming period.

In two and a half years of project implementation, the Consortium organized 18 events, involving more than 500 journalists, editors, media owners, government representatives, the advertising industry representatives and representatives of academic community, the international community and the civil sector.  Through a media campaign lead,  3 TV and 5 radio shows were published, 4 so called radio bridges (shows connecting people from different sectors) , 13 advertising contents and over 100 thematic and analytical texts, 15 editions of the E- journalist newsletter and more than 300 media reports on the activities of the Consortium.