10 Oct Media Freedom Matrix – Online Monitoring Tool for Media Freedoms

In order to increase the respect for the freedom of expression and media, Civic Initiatives are launching a project that will enable monitoring of planned measures and effective changes in the area of media freedom during the EU integration process.

The activities will contribute to improved government measures, better policies and actions in the area of freedom of expression by involvement of wider civil society and journalist associations and providing monitoring of existing and needed measures within the Chapters 5, 8, 10, 23, 28 and 32.

Through dialogue, coordination and information sharing among civil society, media and institutions regarding freedom of expression, the Media freedom Matrix will contribute to better visibility of designed and implemented measures.

The project will also involve citizens in actions regarding the monitoring of implementation of the laws and practices that protect freedom of expression.

The activities will include journalists, media associations, CSOs committed to media freedom & freedom of expression, human rights defenders and other media actors. The implementation will be followed in tt least 15 municipalities in Serbia.

All monitoring actions will be presented to government institutions – police, judiciary, prosecution, independent & regulatory bodies – involving all institutions leading EU integration groups in above mentioned chapters.

The activities will be implemented together with FoNet News Agency and within recently established Intersectoral Group on Media Freedom of EU Convention mechanism.

During the next six months period, the on-line platform for media freedom in EU integration processes will be created – Media Freedom Matrix. Civic Initiatives, with support of other actors on media scene will continue to update the platform with relevant info. FOI requests will be sent to all institutions that are in charge of implementing laws regarding media freedoms.

Bellow you can find the structure of Media Freedom Matrix as well as main monitoring points.

Freedom of expression and freedom of media through EU integration process

ChaptersMonitoring AreasMonitoring Goals
Chapter 5 – Public procurement1. Financing media through public procurement1. Minimized financing through public procurement. It has to be limited to a closed list of possible money transfers toward media through public procurement, prescribed by laws.
Chapter 8 - Competition policy1. Control of the concentration of media ownership and competition in the media field.

2. Control and/or financing of the media through the state aid grants.
1. Implemented legal provisions prohibiting media concentration and market competition in this area set up in a way that ensures freedom of expression. Adequate work of the state Commission for the Protection of Competition in this area.

2. State aid given to media, as defined in the financing of reporting in the public interest (project financing), has to be implemented in such a way that it does not distort competition and does not allow state control of the media through funds obtained in this way. During the EU integration process define/determine the adequacy of media financing through state aid. Ensure adequate work of the Commission for the control of state aid in the field of media.
Chapter 10 - Information society and media1. Independence of regulatory bodies in the media field.

2. The independence of public services.

3. Control of program contents to protect minors and vulnerable groups
1. Ensure full independence and functionality of regulatory bodies.

2. Ensure the full independence of public services and reporting in the public interest.

3. Ensure the absence of hate speech from media content, as well as the full control of content that is not intended for minors (eg violence).
Chapter 23 - Judiciary and fundamental rights1. Journalists protection.

2. Regulation of state media financing (withdrawal of state from ownership in the media).

3. End the state control of the media.

4. Information leakage from the investigation to the media (using the media for political purposes).

5. Freedom of the media and expression in minority languages.
1. Ensure the full protection of journalists and all those reporting in the public interest. Ensure not to use restrictive definition of journalists, but to include in the definition of citizen journalism and content criteria and information that a person provides.

2. Ensure the successful completion of the media privatization process. Ensure that project media financing does not affect the independence of the media.

3. Ensure the application of all relevant laws, as well as measures under the action plan for Chapter 23. Apply all measures regarding better control of work, greater transparency and adequate sanctioning of violations of regulations by state authorities during project financing of the media.

4. To disable the use of media for political purposes and to discriminate against political opponents.

5. Ensure the freedom of media and expression in the languages of national minorities through the change of laws and the adequate application of existing (and/or adopted) laws.
Chapter 28 - Consumer and health protection1. Media control funding through advertising content.1. Ensure the implementation of the Advertising Act (closely related to the measures outlined in chapter 23 concerning advertising and transparency of public services in this area). Ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Council of the Anti-Corruption Council in the field of advertising.
Chapter 32 - Financial control1. Supervision of the spending of budget money by the State Audit Institution for the financing of political parties and the competition for co-financing of the media (especially at the local level).1. Ensure adequate control of state institutions and local governments by the State Audit Institution in order to ensure full compliance with the regulations when financing political party campaigns and project media financing.

This project is funded by the European Union through the small grants programme “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans” implemented by the Croatian Journalists’ Association as part of the regional project Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, carried out through partnership of six regional journalists’ associations – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Association of BH Journalists (BHJ), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM).