Sofia Mandic of the Center for Judicial Research, CEPRIS, said on Tuesday that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) request for changes to the Law on Electronic media seemed to be an attempt to remove United Media's N1 and Nova S Tv channels from cable operators offer.
„My impression is that the main targets are N1 and Nova S, which won’t be available to the audience,“ she told N1.
She added that „at first glance, it looks like changes in defying the Law’s terms where re-broadcasting relates to TVs registered and licenced abroad (N1, Nova S, Sport Klub). (An SNS MP Marijan) Risticevic suggests that the current definition describing re-broadcasting as downloading and simultaneous broadcasting of the visual content, change to a mandatory broadcast abroad first.“
The proposal, according to Mandic, opens many questions and that at the level of a term challenges several issues. „First of all, the old definition remains in the Law together with the new one, and that makes it unclear how those two TVs can legally operate?“
„So, there will be a provision saying re-broadcasting is also broadcasting and the other saying the content must first be broadcast abroad,“ Mandic said.
She added that it seemed to her „as a final solution for N1 and Nova S after threats, branding journalists as traitors, jeopardising their safety and smear campaign were in vain.“
„If the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) determines that those TVs which operates under the re-broadcasting system are not adjusted to a new definition, cable operators must remove them from their offer. In case an operator doesn’t do that, REM or Republic Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services, RATEL, will unplug it,“ Mandic said.
She warned about fines envisaged for REM members. „If a member disagrees that a TV hasn’t adjusted to the new definition, they could be fined a million Dinars or over 8,500 Euro.
„That is probably the biggest additional problem. Will any REM member dare to vote that N1 and Nova S are not violating the Law? That means that any REM member is neither formally nor legally in a position to say the Law is not violated,“ Mandic said, adding that „any other outcome is impossible but to determine that those TVs have violated the Law.“