Passed 18 July 2002 by the Serbian Parliament
Signed by Serbian President Milan Milutinovic on 19 July 2002
I. BASIC PROVISIONS
Subject of the Law
This Law stipulates the conditions for and manner of conducting broadcasting activities in keeping with international conventions and standards; establishes the Republican Broadcasting Agency, as well as public broadcasting service institutions; determines terms and procedures for issuing licences to broadcast radio and TV programmes and regulates other issues in respect of the broadcasting sector.
The provisions of this Law shall not pertain to the conditions and procedure for issuing radio station licences, or to the terms and procedure under which broadcasters gain the right to set up, use and maintain fixed and mobile broadcasting equipment.
The regulation of relations in the broadcasting sector shall be based on the following principles:
1) Freedom, professionalism, and independence of public service broadcasters as a guarantee of the overall development of democracy and social harmony;
2) Rational and efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum as a limited natural resource;
3) Prohibition of any censorship of and/or influence on the work of public broadcasters, whereby their independence, the independence of their newsrooms and journalists is guaranteed;
4) Full affirmation of civil rights and freedoms and especially the freedom of expression and diversity of opinion;
5) Application of internationally recognised norms and principles with respect to the broadcasting sector, especially the respect of human rights in this sector;
6) Impartiality, prohibition of discrimination, and transparency of the procedure for issuing broadcasting licences;
7) Encouragement of the broadcasting development and creativity in the area of radio and TV in the Republic of Serbia.
Unless otherwise specified, the terms used in this Law shall have the following meanings:
1) Broadcasting: general term for radio and television as electronic mass media, achieved by the analogue or digital transmission of text, speech, sound, still and moving images in the form of programme contents via radio waves or cable distribution systems to adequate reception devices and intended for the general public.
2) Radio frequency: main physical parameter of electromagnetic or radio waves freely moving through space, whose conventional values fall within the 3 KHz – 3000 GHz band;
3) Coverage area: area in the vicinity of a transmitter providing the required field strength of the electromagnetic signal for a satisfactory service taking into account co-channel interference;
4) Service area: area in the vicinity of a transmitter fulfilling the condition of quality signal reception in real conditions. The service area in real conditions is always smaller than the coverage area;
5) Proposed service area: geographic area or administrative region which the broadcasting service is intended for. Depending on the needs, the proposed service area signifies either any individual service area or the sum of service areas covered by each transmitter. In case of a network of transmitters, the proposed service area is the sum of individual service areas covered by each transmitter;
6) Radio/TV network: two or more transmitters or repeaters or a combination of them broadcasting the same programme at the same time;
7) Networking: the setting up of a temporary radio or television network via terrestrial, cable or satellite links between two or more broadcasters with the aim of directly transmitting a radio or television programme;
8) Broadcasting organisation (hereinafter broadcaster): a natural or legal person registered to produce and broadcast radio or TV programmes, which has been issued a broadcasting licence in keeping with this Law.
9) Public Broadcasting Servise: production, purchase, editing and broadcasting of the informative, educational, cultural, artistic, children's, entertainment, sports and other radio and TV programs in the general interest of citizens, and especially those aimed at realization of human and civic rights, exchange of ideas and opinions, nurture of political, gender, interethnic and religious tolerance, as well as the preservation of national identity;
10) Independent production: a radio and television programmes intended solely for broadcasting and produced by a natural or legal person who is registered therefor but who is not a broadcaster of the programme it is producing;
11) Advertisement: promotional message the aim of which is to present and draw attention to a certain product, service or firm, i.e. to induce consumers to purchase, i.e. use the product or service;
12) Advertising: broadcasting of advertisements for a fee or other form of compensation;
13) Sponsorship: any funding by a natural or legal person, which is not involved in the activity of producing a radio and/or television programme or the production of audiovisual content, of a radio and/or television programme, with the aim of promoting its name, trademark, reputation, activities or products;
14) Teleshopping: radio or television presentation of the qualities or values of products or services with the aim of directly selling them to the public.
15) Cable distribution system (hereinafter CDS): a predominantly cable telecommunication network intended for the distribution of radio and television programmes and the provision of other telecommunication services;
Cooperation with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
The Republican Broadcasting Agency and the telecommunications regulatory authority shall cooperate and coordinate their work in accorance with and in the manner envisaged by the provisions of this Law and of a separate telecommunications law with the aim of achieving the rational and effective use of the broadcast band and consistent application of this Law and a separate telecommunications law.
II. REPUBLICAN BROADCASTING AGENCY
1. Legal Status
The Republican Broadcasting Agency (hereinafter Agency) is established as an autonomous i.e. independent organisation exercising public competencies pursuant to this Law and regulations passed on the basis of this Law to secure conditions for the efficient implementation and improvement of the set broadcasting policy in the Republic of Serbia in a manner befitting a democratic society.
The Agency is an autonomous legal person and is functionally independent of any state body, as well as of all organisations and individuals involved in the production and broadcasting of radio and television programmes and/or related activities.
Legal Status and Representation
The Agency shall have the status of a legal person.
The Agency Council shall be the Agency body reaching all decisions on issues within the Agency’s competencies.
The Agency Council Chairperson, or the Council Vice-Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson for any reason, shall act in the name and on behalf of the Agency.
The Chairperson, i.e. the Vice-Chairperson deputising for the Chairperson, may wholly or partially delegate the power to represent the Agency to another Council member only on the basis of a Council decision.
2. Agency Competencies
The Agency is competent for:
1) Passing the broadcasting development strategy in the Republic of Serbia with the consent of the Government of the Republic of Serbia;
2) Supervising and ensuring the consistent application of the provisions of this Law;
3) Issuing broadcasting licences and prescribing the licence form;
4) Setting technical, organisational and programming conditions for the production and broadcasting of programmes pursuant to the provisions of this Law;
5) Prescribing rules binding on broadcasters which ensure the implementation of the broadcasting policy in the Republic of Serbia;
6) Supervising the work of broadcasters in the Republic of Serbia;
7) Considering submissions filed by natural and legal persons and complaints of broadcasters concerning the operation of other broadcasters;
8) Delivering to the competent state bodies its opinion with regard to accession to international conventions related to broadcasting;
9) Imposing adequate sanctions against broadcasters in keeping with this Law;
10) Performing other duties in accordance with this Law.
In addition to the competencies set forth in para 1 of this Article, the Agency is also competent to take measures in the broadcasting sector with the aim of:
1) Protecting minors;
2) Enforcing regulations on copyright and neighbouring rights;
3) Preventing the broadcasting of programmes which contain information inciting discrimination, hatred or violence against an individual or a group of individuals on grounds of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or gender.
The Agency performs the duties in para 1, sub-paras 1, 2, 3, and 6 as duties entrusted to it.
Passing of the Broadcasting Development Strategy
In cooperation with the telecommunication regulatory authority, the Agency shall pass a Broadcasting Development Strategy for the Republic of Serbia wherein it shall determine the number and types of broadcasters, proposed service areas and other parameters for which a public tender shall be called, after having taken into consideration the different requirements of citizens and social groups for information, education, cultural, sports and other contents et. al.
Law Implementation Supervision
The supervision of the implementation of this Law entails control of the work of the broadcasters with respect to their consistent application and affirmation of principles upon which the relations in the broadcasting sector are regulated as well as to the fulfillment of other obligations which broadcasters have under the provisions of this Law.
Issuing of Broadcasting Licence
The Agency shall issue a licence for broadcasting a programme via terrestrial, cable or satellite transmission, either digital or analogue, in a procedure and according to criteria laid down by this Law.
A broadcasting licence is not required for broadcasting via the global information network (Internet webcasting), but the provisions of this Law shall apply to programme content.
Prescribing Binding Regulations for Broadcasters
The Agency shall pass recommendations, instructions, binding instructions and general binding instructions for broadcasters to ensure the efficient implementation of the broadcasting policy in the Republic of Serbia.
The Agency shall pass recommendations for broadcasters in the event of inconsistent permitted practice on part of the broadcasters when applying the provisions of this Law in respect of the programme content.
The Agency shall pass an instruction if there is doubt whether the manner, in which a broadcaster or a group of broadcasters is using the licence in regard to the provisions of this Law pertaining to programme content, is permitted or not.
The Agency shall pass a binding instruction if it is established that the broadcasters’ conduct in regard to certain issues regarding programme content is inconsistent and the Agency deems certain types of such conduct impermissible.
The Agency shall pass a general binding instruction in order to regulate certain issues regarding programme content in greater detail, regardless of the current practice of the broadcasters. The general binding instruction may pertain to a specific issue regarding programme content, a number of related issues, or all issues in respect of programme content (broadcasters’ code of conduct).
Non-compliance with a binding instruction shall be deemed grounds for pronouncing a reprimand or a warning to the broadcaster, while non-compliance with a general binding instruction shall be the basis for pronouncing any sanction the Agency is empowered to pronounce.
Recommendations, instructions, binding instructions and general binding instructions shall be published in the manner envisaged by the Agency Statute.
The Agency shall pass and publish other regulations in keeping with this Law and in the manner envisaged by the Statute.
Supervising the Work of Broadcasters
The Agency shall supervise the work of the broadcasters itself or by hiring an authorised organisation.
When exercising the competence laid down in para 1 of this Article, the Agency is under duty to focus on the broadcasters’ overall respect of the terms and conditions on which they were issued the licence, particularly with regard to programme type and quality.
Broadcasters are obliged to allow the Agency access to the data and other documentation related to the subject of the supervision.
Consideration of Submissions
Natural and legal persons shall have the right to file submissions to the Agency with regard to a broadcaster’s programme contents if they deem these programmes are violating or endangering their personal interests or the public interest.
Upon the receipt and consideration of the submission, the Agency shall deliver forthwith the submission to the broadcaster for explanation and set a deadline thereof, unless the submission is manifestly ill-founded, in which case the Agency dismisses it and informs the submitter thereof.
If the broadcaster does not provide an explanation within the given deadline or informs the Agency that the submission is groundless, but the Agency still maintains that the submission is grounded, the Agency shall take adequate measures against the broadcaster and advise the submitter on ways in which s/he can protect his/her interests.
Adequate measures set forth in para 3 of this Article include but are not limited to:
1) Sanctions pronounced by the Agency in keeping with this Law;
2) Filing of misdimeanour or criminal charges or initiating of other appropriate proceedings with a state body of competent jurisdiction.
Consideration of Complaints
A broadcaster may submit a complaint to the Agency about the conduct of another broadcaster which has inflicted or may inflict it damage.
The Agency shall deliver the complaint in para 1 of this Article forthwith to the broadcaster concerned, who shall provide an explanation within 15 (fifteen) days after the day of complaint receipt.
If the Agency maintains that the complaint is well-founded despite the broadcaster’s explanation, it shall take measures set out in Article 14 para 4 of this Law against the broadcaster concerned.
Cooperation with State and Other Bodies and Organisations
The Agency shall deliver its opinion to the competent state bodies at their request and in regard to accession to international conventions and other agreements related to the broadcasting sector.
The Agency shall cooperate with relevant organisations of other states, i.e. relevant international organisations with the aim of exchanging opinions, improving its work and harmonizing it with international experience and standards.
Competent state bodies shall ask the Agency for its opinion during the drafting of regulations related to the broadcasting sector.
Pronouncement of Sanctions
The Agency may pronounce a reprimand or a warning against broadcaster, and may temporarily or permanently revoke its broadcasting licence in keeping with the provisions of this Law.
Exceptionally, public broadcasting service institutions - which are not obliged to acquire a broadcasting licence from the Agency - may only be pronounced a reprimand and a warning.
The Agency may initiate proceedings against a broadcaster or the broadcaster’s responsible person with a court of competent jurisdiction or another state body if the broadcaster’s act or failure to act has the character of an offence punishable under the law.
A reprimand set forth in Article 17 paras 1 and 2 of this Law shall be pronounced against a broadcaster, which has for the first time breached an obligation stipulated by this Law or an Agency by-law passed on the basis of this Law.
The reprimand shall not be published in the media.
A warning shall be pronounced against a broadcaster which:
1) Despite the issued reprimand, continues acting in contravention of obligations stipulated by this Law or an Agency by-law adopted on the basis of this Law.
2) Violates an obligation for the first time, but in a manner in which this violation seriously threatens the application of principles regulating relations in the broadcasting sector;
3) Violates a term included in the broadcasting licence.
When pronouncing a warning, the Agency shall expressly specify the obligation the broadcaster has violated and define measures the broadcaster is to take to rectify the violation.
The warning shall be published in the media and obligatorily in the programme of the broadcaster concerned.
A broadcaster may also be subject to pronouncement of sanctions laid down in a separate telecommunications law, in the event the broadcaster does not abide by the prescribed obligations.
The Agency shall ensure impartiality and fairness during the imposition of a sanction, as well as enable the broadcaster to be heard about the committed violations of obligations it is held liable for prior to the imposition of the sanction.
The Agency shall prescribe detailed rules on the terms and procedure of sanction imposition.
Protection of Minors
The Agency shall ensure the protection of minors and the respect of human dignity in programmes broadcast via radio and TV and shall pass a general binding instruction to that effect.
The Agency shall especially ensure that programmes, which may impair the physical, mental and moral development of minors, are not accessible via radio or television except when the broadcasting time or technical measures ensure that minors are as a rule unlikely to have the opportunity to watch or hear them.
Broadcasting of programmes, which grossly impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors, shall be prohibited.
Protection of Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights
The Agency shall ensure that all broadcasters apply regulations on copyrights and neighbouring rights.
Conduct contrary to regulations in para 1 of this Article by a broadcaster may be the basis for pronouncing prescribed sanctions by the Agency independently of other legal remedies at the disposal of the aggrieved holder of a copyright or a neighboring right.
Suppression of Hate Speech
The Agency shall ensure that the broadcasters’ programmes do not contain information inciting discrimination, hatred or violence against an individual or a group of individuals on grounds of their political affiliation, or their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
Conduct in contravention of the prohibition in para 1 of this Article shall be deemed grounds for pronouncing the envisaged sanctions by the Agency, independently of the other legal remedies at the disposal of the aggrieved.
3. Agency Council
Composition of the Council
The Agency Council (hereinafter Council) shall have 9 (nine) members, appointed from the ranks of reputed experts in fields relevant to conducting the affairs within the Agency’s competencies (media experts, advertising experts, lawyers, economists, telecommunication engineers, et al.).
The Council members are appointed by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter Assembly) at the proposal of authorised nominators.
A Council member is appointed if the majority of all National Assembly members votes for him or her.
The power and duty to nominate Council members are vested in:
1) National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia;
2) Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina;
3) Government of the Republic of Serbia;
4) Executive Council of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina;
5) Rectors of the Universities in the Republic of Serbia, through mutual agreement;
6) Associations of broadcasting public media in the Republic of Serbia, Associations of journalists in the Republic of Serbia, Professional associations of film and drama artists in the Republic of Serbia, Professional associations of composers in the Republic of Serbia, through mutual agreement;
6) Domestic non-governmental organizations and civic associations focusing on the protection of the freedom of expression and/or the protection of the rights of national and ethnic minorities, and the protection of the rights of the child, through mutual agreement;
7) Churches and religious communities.
The ninth member of the Council is nominated by previously appointed members of the Council, while the nominated member must both fulfill the criteria for the Council membership determined by this Law and live and work on the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
Nomination for the Council's member from para. 4 of this article is deemed determined if at least 5 Council members have voted for it.
Procedure for Nominating Council Members
Each authorised nominator as prescribed by article 23, para. 3 of this Law, nominates the candidates for one Council member, but shall submit obligatorily nominate two individuals on its nominee list. The individuals nominated by the authorised nominator need not belong to the ranks of the authorised nominator.
Exceptionally, candidate list for the member nominated by the previously appointed Council members, in accordance with article 23, para. 4 and 5 of this Law, contains only one individual.
An individual enjoying the reputation of a prominent media expert, advertising expert or a prominent expert in a field relevant to the work of the Agency shall be nominated for the post of Council member.
The Assembly shall appoint one nominee from each valid list.
The authorised nominators shall draft their lists independently, and, if an authorised nominator comprises more than one natural and/or legal person, the nomination shall be determined in agreement, by negotiations.
In case of nominators set forth in Article 23, para 3, sub-para 7 of this Law, the Assembly shall acquire the data on registered republican non-governmental organisations and civic associations from bodies competent for keeping records of these organisations i.e. associations.
The submitted nomination list must be signed and certified by the authorized nominator and include the name and address of its representative.
If the nominators set forth in Article 23, para 3, sub-para 7of this Law submit more than one nominee list, the list signed by a greater number of associations or organisations (of authorised nominators) that in the previous period had more effective actions, initiatives and publications in the area they are predominantly focused on, shall be deemed valid list.
Only registered organisations and associations may be the signatories of the nominee lists.
If the nominee list has been submitted in contravention of the provisions of this Law, the Assembly shall return the submitted proposal to the authorized nominator to conform it with this Law within 15 (fifteen) days.
The Assembly shall return the submitted nominations to the authorized nominators also when it is unable to determine which nominee list is valid in respect of para 8 of this Article, in which case the authorized nominators are obliged to submit to the Assembly an agreed-on nomination within 15 (fifteen) days.
The Assembly shall in an appropriate manner make public all valid nominee lists submitted by the authorized nominators at least 30 (thirty) days before the decision on the appointment of Council members is taken, along with their short CVs.
The Assembly is entitled to, before its decision on the Council members appointment, organize a public interview with all nominated candidates in order to get insight into their capabilities for performing duties stemming from the Agency’s competencies.
If no candidate from Council members candidate lists obtains sufficient number of votes as prescribed by the article 23 para 2, the appointment shall be executed only after the submittal of a new list from the authorized nominator, which has to take place within 15 days from the day of decision on the previous list at the latest.
Ineligibility for Council Membership
The following are not eligible to be Council members:
1) Federal and/or Republican Members of Parliament or members of the autonomous provincial parliaments;
2) Elected or appointed officials in the Federal Government, the Government of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter Government) and the executive bodies of the autonomous provinces (ministers, their deputies, assistants, as well as heads of separate departments directly controlled by the Government or executive councils, and other officials);
3) Officials of political parties (party leaders, party presidency members and their deputies, members of party executive and main boards and other party officials);
4) Individuals, who as owners of shares or stocks, members of management or supervisory bodies, employees, contractees et al, have an interest in the legal persons involved in the production and/or broadcasting of radio and television programmes or related activities (advertising, telecommunications, et al) because the membership of such an individual in the Council may lead to a conflict of interests;
5) Individuals, who have been convicted by a final sentence of a crime of abuse of official power, corruption, fraud, theft or another criminal offense rendering him/her unfit for the post, notwithstanding the imposed sanction, or who have been convicted by a final sentence of another criminal offense to a prison sentence exceeding 6 (six) months.
6) Individuals who are spouses, parents, children or collateral relatives to the second degree of kinship of individuals listed in para 1, sub-paras 1 to 4 of this Article.
The nominee shall submit a written statement to the authorised nominator that there are no restrictions set forth in para 1 of this Article to his/her nomination.
Tenure of Council Members
The Council Members shall not represent in the Council the bodies or organisations which nominated them, but shall fulfil their duties independently, to the best of their knowledge and conscience, and in keeping with this Law.
A Council member’s term of office may terminate only for the reasons and after the procedure envisaged by this Law.
No one has the right to influence the work of Council members in any way and the members shall not take any instructions from anyone regarding their work with the exception of the decisions by the court of competent jurisdiction made in the procedure of judiciary control of the Council’s work.
Duration of Tenure
A Council member is appointed to a tenure of six years.
Notwithstanding para 1 of this Article, when appointing the first Council members, three Council members shall be appointed to two-year, three members to four-year and three members to six-year terms of office.
The Council members with two and four year tenures in the first Council composition shall be appointed in the following manner: before the Assembly decides on the submitted nominations, the Assembly Speaker shall draw lots to determine the authorised nominators whose nominees shall be appointed to two- and four-year terms of office.
An individual may not be appointed Council Member for two consecutive terms of office.
Termination of a Council Member’s Tenure
The tenure of a Council member may terminate in the following cases:
1) Expiration of the term of office to which the Council member has been appointed;
2) Dismissal for reasons envisaged by this Law;
3) Submission of a resignation to the Assembly in written form, in which case the term-of-office of the Council Member terminates the day the resignation has been submitted, whereas an a priori signed (enveloped) resignation shall not have legal effect;
4) Death of the Council member.
Termination of Tenure by Dismissal
At the proposal of the Council or at least 20 MPs, the Assembly may dismiss a Council member in the following events:
1) If a competent health institution finds the member incapacitated by an illness to fulfil the duties of Council member for a period exceeding six months;
2) If it is determined that the member gave false personal data during the submission of the nomination or omitted to report data on circumstances set forth in Article 25 of this Law.
3) If it is determined that some of the circumstances set forth in Article 25 of this Law occurred during the tenure of the Council member.
4) If for no good reason, the member omits or refuses to fulfil the duty of a Council member for at least 3 (three) consecutive months or a period of 12 months during which the member failed to fulfil his duties for at least 6 months.
The decision on dismissal may be reached only on the basis of a duly reasoned motion for dismissal following a procedure, wherein all the relevant circumstances have been determined and the Council member concerned has been given the opportunity to be heard on all the circumstances.
A Council member may not be dismissed because of his or her political or other opinions, i.e. because of his or her membership in a political organisation.
The decision to dismiss a Council member shall be deemed adopted if the majority of all MPs voted for it.
Suspension of a Council Member
Upon the filing of a motion to dismiss a Council member, the Council may, by a two-third majority vote of all its members, reach a decision to suspend the Council member against whom the dismissal motion has been filed until the Assembly passes its decision thereon, but in duration no longer than 6 months.
Consequences of Tenure Termination
The Assembly Speaker shall publicly call for a submission of a nominee list for a Council member at least six months before the term-of-office of that Council member expires. The invitation is addressed to the authorised nominators who had nominated the candidates whose term of office is expiring.
The authorised nominators shall submit to the Assembly the nominee lists for the vacated posts within three months from the day the public call has been made.
The Assembly shall reach a decision on the appointment of the new Council members before the tenure of the incumbent members expires.
In the event of the early termination of a Council member’s tenure (due to death, dismissal or resignation), the authorised nominator, who had nominated the member whose tenure has terminated in this manner, shall forthwith and within three months at the latest submit a list of nominees for the vacated Council post to the Assembly. The Assembly shall appoint the new Council member within 30 (thirty) days after the day of reception of the nominee list. This member shall be appointed to a tenure of six years.
Until a new member is appointed, decisions taken by the incomplete Council shall be deemed legally effective. However, the Council may not reach legally effective decisions if the number of Council members is less than five, because the tenures of certain members have terminated.
Council’s Mode of Operation
The work of the Council is public.
The Council shall reach decisions by a simple majority of votes of members present on condition that the decision-making quorum of five members is fulfilled, unless otherwise stipulated by this Law or the Statute. General by-laws and decisions on the rights of broadcasters shall be voted in by a simple majority of all Council members unless this Law or the Statute stipulates a two-thirds majority of all Council members. In the event of a tie, the vote of the Council Chairperson, or, in his/her absence, that of the Deputy Chairperson, shall prevail.
The Council decision referring to the territory of the AP of Vojvodina shall be deemed adopted if within the number of votes required for the decision adoption there is a vote of at least one Council member appointed on the proposal of the authorized nominators from AP Vojvodina.
The Council shall vote in the Council Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson from amongst its ranks by a two-thirds majority vote of all its members.
The Council Chairperson and members shall have the right to financial remuneration for their work in an amount equal to the salaries of the Chairperson, i.e. judge of the Supreme Court of Serbia.
The Council Chairperson shall act in the name of and behalf on the Agency, direct the work of the Council, sign the Council decisions and ensure their implementation, have the powers of a company director in respect of employment rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Agency expert department employees, and perform other functions set forth in the Law and Statute.
Agency Statute and Other General By-laws
The Statute, the Council’s rules of procedure, the by-law regulating the organisation of the Agency expert departments, the number and status of employees in the Agency expert departments and other Agency by-laws shall be passed by the Council.
The by-laws in para 1 of this Article shall be passed by a two-thirds majority vote of all Council members.
The Assembly shall give its consent to the Agency Statute.
4. Agency Funding
The funding of the Agency shall be carried out in keeping with a financial plan, which shall be adopted by the Council on an annual basis.
The financial plan shall determine the overall revenue of the Agency, the overall expenditure of the Agency, including reserves for unforeseen outlays, as well as the elements for the comprehensive overview of the Agency’s salaries and employment policy.
The Assembly shall approve the financial plan in para 1 of this Article.
The financial plan shall be adopted by 15 December of the current year at the latest for the following year.
The financial plan shall be published in the manner envisaged by the Agency Statute.
All Agency revenue and expenditure accounts shall be subject to annual audit by an independent authorised auditor. The accounts shall be published within three months after the end of the fiscal year.
If the annual balance of the Agency revenues and expenditures shows that the Agency’s overall revenues have exceeded the expenditures, the difference shall be paid to the account of the budget of the Republic of Serbia and shall be proportionately used to promote and develop culture, health, education and social care.
Sources of Funding
The Agency income comprises funds earned from the fees the broadcasters pay for the right to broadcast programmes (the broadcasting licences) in keeping with this Law.
If the Agency fails to accrue the planned income from the fees set forth in para 1 of this Article, the lacking funds shall be provided from the budget.
The provision of lacking funds in keeping with para 2 of this Article shall in no way influence the independence and autonomy of the Agency.
5. Transparency of the Agency’s Work and Judicial Control
Transparency of Work
The Agency shall publish an annual report on its work in the manner determined by the Statute.
An Agency decision may not be appealed against, but an administrative lawsuit may be launched against it.
III. BROADCASTING LICENCE
1. Definitions of Licence and Licence Holders
Principles of Licence Issuance
A natural or legal person may not broadcast a radio or television programme unless it has previously been issued a licence by the Agency, unless otherwise stipulated by this Law.
Any legal or natural person, fulfilling the conditions prescribed by this Law and regulations passed on the basis of this Law may be granted a licence to broadcast a radio and television programme under equal terms.
The broadcasting licence issuance procedure is public.
Records of all issued licences are kept in accordance with this Law.
A broadcasting licence is an authorisation the obtainment of which vests in the licence holder the right to broadcast a certain radio and/or television programme intended for an unspecified number of users via terrestrial radio stations, cable distribution systems, satellite radiocommunications or in another appropriate manner.
The broadcasting licence shall be issued by the Agency upon its implementation of a procedure envisaged by this Law.
The broadcasting licence shall determine the programming and technical standards for the production and broadcasting of radio and television programmes.
A composite part of the broadcasting licence is the radio station licence (broadcasting station licence), which is issued by the telecommunications regulatory authority at the Agency’s request, in accordance with a separate law and on the basis of the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan adopted by the telecommunications ministry.
The issued radio station licence shall be submitted to the Agency for the implementation of the procedure for issuing a broadcasting licence.
The telecommunications regulatory authority shall issue a radio station licence if the conditions set in separate law have been met and if the Agency request is in keeping with the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan.
The broadcasting licence holder shall exercise the right to mount, use and maintain fixed and mobile broadcasting equipment in keeping with the provisions of a separate telecommunications law, regulations passed on the basis of that law, general by-laws of the telecommunications regulatory authority and the technical prerequisites i.e. standards the application of which is stipulated by these regulations.
Cable and Satellite Broadcasting
The Agency shall issue a licence for cable or satellite broadcasting of programmes without calling a public tender at the request of the holder of a cable distribution system (hereinafter CDS), i.e. holder of a terrestrial satellite station, if the holder of the CDS i.e. terrestrial satellite station has met the conditions regarding the mounting, use and maintenance of telecommunication equipment determined in keeping with a separate telecommunications law.
The obligation to obtain a broadcasting licence shall not be incumbent upon the holder of a system which is broadcasting the following radio and television programmes intended for cable distribution:
1) Programmes for which the Council has awarded a terrestrial broadcasting licence for the area in which the CDS is situated, whereby the CDS holder is obliged to distribute the public service programmes via its system free of charge.
2) Programmes which can be received via free (unencrypted) satellite distribution in the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
The holder of a system for broadcasting radio and television programmes intended for satellite distribution shall be obliged to obtain a licence in all events in which the holder has not obtained a licence for the terrestrial or cable broadcasting of the programme to be broadcast via satellite.
Regulations envisaged for the issuing of cable broadcasting licences shall accordingly apply to the issuance of licences for broadcasting via the MMDS (Microwave Multichannel Distribution System) technology, whereby the holder of the MMDS shall not be exempted from the obligation to obtain the appropriate licence for each radio station in keeping with a separate telecommunications law.
Broadcasting Licence Holder
Only a domestic legal or natural person, registered for the businesses of producing and broadcasting radio and television programmes and with a head office i.e. residence in the territory of the
A domestic legal person, whose founders are foreign legal persons registered in countries the internal regulations of which do not allow or where it is impossible to determine the origin of the founding capital, may not take part in the public tender for a broadcasting licence.
A foreign legal or natural person may have a share of a maximum 49% in the overall founding capital of the broadcasting licence holder unless otherwise envisaged by international agreements ratified by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Exceptionally, a foreign natural or legal person may not possess a share in the capital of public service broadcasting institutions.
Persons which may not be Licence Holders
The following may not be broadcasting licence holders:
1) An enterprise, institution or another legal person established by the Republic of Serbia or an autonomous province, with the exception of public broadcasting service institutions;
2) A political party, organisation or coalition, or a legal person founded by a political party, organisation or coalition.
A legal or natural person, registered for the business of producing and broadcasting radio and television programmes, shall acquire the status of broadcaster in terms of this Law when awarded a broadcasting licence, i.e. when awarded a radio station licence in the case of broadcasters which are not required under the provisions of this Law to obtain a broadcasting licence.
A broadcaster may produce and broadcast radio and television programmes as a:
1) Public broadcasting service institution;
2) Commercial radio and/or television station;
3) Civic sector radio and/or television station;
4) Radio and/or television station of a local or regional community.
Public Broadcasting Service Institutions
Public broadcasting service institutions of the Republic of Serbia or of the autonomous provinces, shall be awarded the right to programme production and broadcasting as broadcasters directly on the basis of this Law.
Broadcasters in para 1 of this Article shall be issued only radio station licences in keeping with the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan and this Law.
Broadcasters in para 1 of this Article shall be subject to the provisions of this Law, except for provisions regarding the obtainment of broadcasting licences, as well as to the relevant provisions of a separate telecommunications law.
Types of Broadcasters with regard to Radio and Television Programme Content
With respect to the radio and television programme content they produce and broadcast, broadcasters may be:
1) Broadcasters of complete programmes, encompassing news, educational, cultural, scientific, sports and entertainment contents as the predominant part of their activities;
2) Broadcasters of specialised programmes, the content of which fundamentally belong to the same thematic category (sports, culture, music, education, et al); or,
3) Broadcasters whose programmes are wholly devoted to advertising and sale of goods and services.
Licence Non-Transferability and Inviolability
The broadcasting licence, which also comprises the radio station license, may not be ceded, leased or in another manner transferred or alienated either temporarily or permanently.
The broadcasting licence set forth in para 1 of this Article may not be ceded even in the event of broadcaster’s selling of the broadcasting equipment.
In the event set forth in para 2 of this Article, new owner of the broadcasting equipment may not start broadcasting prior to obtaining the broadcasting licence as prescribed by this Law.
Proposed Service Area
A proposed service area may encompass the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the territory of an autonomous province, region or local area.
A public service broadcaster must ensure quality reception of radio i.e. television signal by at least 90% of the population in the proposed service area.
A commercial broadcaster must provide quality reception of the radio i.e. television signal to at least 60% of the population in the proposed service area.
Sharing a Radio Frequency
If the terms set forth in the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan have been fulfilled, approval may be granted to a maximum of three broadcasters to a broadcast radio i.e. television programme on the same radio frequency and in the same proposed service area.
The joint use of a radio frequency may be approved only on the basis of a positive opinion previously obtained from the telecommunications regulatory authority.
Broadcasters shall jointly apply for a broadcasting licence in para 1 of this Article, by submitting, inter alia, a contract wherein they have together detailed the time slots of each broadcaster intending to share the radio frequency in the same proposed service area.
The Agency shall award to each broadcaster in para 3 of this Article a separate broadcasting licence which specially details the joint use of the radio frequency, the broadcaster/s sharing the same frequency and the terms and conditions of the joint frequency use.
2. Licence Issuance Procedure
The broadcasting licence shall be issued on the basis of a public tender.
The public tender must be called when conditions are met on the basis of the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan to award new broadcasting licences.
The public tender shall publicise the proposed service areas the coverage of which is the reason for calling the public tender, in keeping with the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan.
Invitation for a public tender
The announcement calling for a public tender for broadcasting licences shall contain:
1) The territory of the proposed service area with the radio frequencies/locations assigned to it;
2) The technical, organisational and programming terms for programme production and broadcasting which the applicant is to fulfil;
3) The terms set forth in a separate telecommunications law and regulations adopted on the basis of that law which the applicant is to meet to be awarded a radio station licence;
4) The amount of the annual fee for the right to broadcast a programme and the amount of the fee which is paid for the use of a radio frequency on the basis of the awarded radio station licence;
5) The deadline for submitting the application for the public tender, together with the prescribed documentation;
6) The deadline in which the decision on tender applications shall be reached.
In order to ensure that the public tender is made known to all interested parties under equal terms, the invitation for a public tender shall be published in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia” and inat least one newspapers of general circulation. If the public tender is called for awarding broadcasting licences to radio and/or television stations of local or regional communities, the invitation must also be published in at least one local i.e. regional newspaper published in the area for which the public tender is being called.
The deadline for submitting applications for the public tender shall not be shorter than 60 (sixty) days after the day the announcement has been published.
The Agency may reach a decision binding the applicants to pay a deposit when submitting the applications.
The decision from para. 1 of this article shall determine the amount of the deposit that may not exceed the full amount of a trimester license fee.
Application for the Public Tender
An application for the public tender is submitted on a form the content of which is prescribed and published by the Agency.
The applicant shall furnish the following documents together with the application:
1) Proof of the applicant’s registration for the business of radio and television programme production and broadcasting;
2) Proof that the applicant has fulfilled the terms embodied in Article 50 para 1, sub-paras 2 and 3 of this Law;
3) Documentation in respect of the proposed programme concept;
4) Organisational and technical concept and staff structure;
5) Estimate of annual cost and revenue plans (with their specification) and data on the financial potentials of the applicant, and, if the applicant is broadcasting a radio and/or television programme at the time of application, also the financial statement and the profit and loss account for the year preceding the year in which the application for the public tender is being submitted;
6. A statement that there are no hindrances pursuant to this Law in respect of prohibited concentration of media ownership;
7) Proof of payment of the deposit and of the administrative taxes for application submission.
The applicant may submit other documentation which it deems material to being awarded a broadcasting licence.
Agency’s Consideration of Submitted Applications
The Agency shall:
1) Reject an application containing incomplete or incorrect data, i.e. incomplete documentation if the applicant does not amend the application, i.e. submit the correct data or comprehensive documentation within the subsequently set deadline of seven days;
2) Publicise, in the same manner as the public tender, a list of all applicants, whose applications are complete and have been submitted within the envisaged deadline, within seven days after the expiration of the application submission deadline;
3) Consider all complete and duly submitted applications;
4) Set and publicise non-discriminatory, impartial and measurable decision-making criteria, corresponding to the activities for the performance of which the licence is awarded;
5) Reach a decision in keeping with the set criteria and prescribed conditions and standards for programme production and broadcasting, and, in the event that more than one person fulfilling the terms has applied for the same radio frequency, give advantage to the one which, on the basis of the submitted documentation, provides stronger guarantees that it shall contribute to better quality and more diverse programme i.e. programme contents in the area in which the programme is to be broadcast. If the applicant is broadcasting a radio and/or TV programme at the time of application submission, the Council shall, while making a decision, take into consideration the applicant’s previous broadcasting period contribution to the implementation of principles regulating relations in the broadcasting sector, determined in article 3 of this Law;
6) Ensure coordination of work with the telecommunications regulatory authority and timely submission of requests for radio station licences, so that a decision on the comprehensive broadcasting licence can be reached within a maximum of (90) ninety days after the date of the publication of the list of public tender applicants;
7) Publicise in the same manner as the tender the list of persons which have been awarded broadcasting licences;
8) Deliver the applicants, whose applications have been rejected, duly reasoned decisions thereof within eight days after the day the decision on the public tender has been reached;
9) Submit one copy of the awarded licence to the telecommunications regulatory authority.
Complaint against an Agency Decision
A person, which has applied at the public tender and is dissatisfied with the Council decision, has the right to file a complaint to the Council within 15 (fifteen) days after the day of receipt of the decision on application rejection.
The Council shall decide on the complaint within 30 (thirty) days after the date of its submission.
An administrative lawsuit may be launched against the decision on the complaint.
Register of Granted Broadcasting Licences
The Agency shall maintain a register of issued broadcasting licences, which shall be public.
The Agency shall establish and update a database on the register it maintains.
Commencement of Broadcasting
A broadcaster shall commence broadcasting the programme within a maximum of 60 (sixty) days after the date of broadcasting licence receipt, but may not begin to broadcast the programme before fulfilling the terms for launching the radio station prescribed by a separate telecommunications law.
In the event a broadcaster does not act in keeping with para 1 of this Article, the broadcaster’s broadcasting licence shall be revoked.
A person, which has not been issued a broadcasting licence, shall receive the deposit refund within seven days after the day the decision on its application to the public tender has been reached, while the paid deposit shall be calculated as part of the broadcasting fee of a person which has been granted a licence.
The deposit is not refunded to a broadcasting licence holder which:
1) Informs the Council in writing before the expiration of the deadline for commencing broadcasting that it is relinquishing the use of the awarded broadcasting licence, i.e. the use of the radio frequency granted to it on that basis;
2) Does not commence broadcasting the programme within the set deadline.
Licence Granted at the Broadcaster’s Request
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Law, broadcasters, whose proposed service area is not fully covered due to terrain configuration, may submit a request to the Agency, without a public tender being called, to award them a broadcasting licence for additional coverage.
The Agency shall decide on the submitted request in coordination with the telecommunications regulatory authority in keeping with the Radio Frequency Assignment Plan.
Validity and Extension of a Broadcasting Licence
The licence to broadcast a radio and/or television programme shall be issued for a period of eight years.
The broadcasting licence may be issued for a shorter period of time at the request of the applicant.
The validity of the broadcasting licence may be extended at the licence holder’s request, which the licence holder is obliged to submit to the Agency within six months before the expiration of the valid licence.
Issuance of a Broadcasting Licence of Shorter Validity
The Agency may issue a broadcasting licence of shorter validity for the coverage of certain events.
The licence in para 1 of this Article shall be issued at the request of a natural or legal person intending to broadcast a programme exclusively linked to the holding of a certain event.
The licence in para 1 of this Article shall be temporary in character and shall be valid only for the duration of the event wherefore it was issued.
The time-restricted radio station licence, which is a composite part of the licence in para 1 of this Article, is issued by the telecommunications regulatory authority, in keeping with the provisions of a separate telecommunications law.
Broadcasting Licence Invalidation before Expiry
A broadcasting licence shall cease to be valid prior to the expiry of its validity period in the following events:
1) If a broadcaster notifies the Agency in writing it no longer intends to broadcast its programme;
2) If it is established that, whilst applying, a broadcaster presented untrue data or omitted to present data material to the decision on its application either in the application for the public tender or in the accompanying documentation;
3) If the telecommunications regulatory authority annuls the issued radio station licence in respect of the provisions of a separate telecommunications law due to the occurrence of any reason envisaged by that law;
4) If a broadcaster has not commenced programme broadcasts within the prescribed deadline;
5) If a broadcaster has not conducted a technical inspection of the radio station within the prescribed timeframe;
6) If a broadcaster has for no justifiable reason ceased broadcasting programme for more than 30 (thirty) consecutive days or for 60 (sixty) days intermittently in one calendar year;
7) If a broadcaster has violated the provisions on prohibited concentration of media ownership envisaged by this Law;
8) If the Agency has imposed the sanction of revoking a broadcasting licence after a procedure in accordance with this Law and regulations passed on the basis of it because the broadcaster has violated its obligations or failed to comply with the terms and conditions prescribed by the broadcasting licence;
9) If the broadcaster has not paid the broadcasting licence fee despite a prior written warning;
10) If it transpires after the licence issuance that a founder of the broadcaster, which has been issued a broadcasting licence, is a foreign legal person registered in a country whose internal regulations do not allow or where it is impossible to determine the origin of the founding capital.
Licence Revocation Procedure
In the event any of the reasons set forth in Article 61 of this Law occur, the validity of the broadcasting licence shall cease by an Agency decision on licence revocation.
The Agency shall regulate in greater detail the procedure for reaching the decision in para 1 of this Article, whereby the procedure shall be based on the principles of impartiality and fairness and the broadcaster shall be provided the opportunity during the procedure to be heard on the facts which have given cause to the procedure. The broadcaster’s representative has the right to attend the Council session at which the revocation of the licence is discussed and to orally plead the broadcaster’s defense at that opportunity.
The Council decision on revoking the broadcasting licence shall be reached by a two-thirds majority of all the Council members.
The decision in para 3 of this Article must be duly reasoned.
The broadcaster, whose broadcasting licence has been revoked, has the right to file a complaint to the Council within eight days after the Council has delivered it the decision.
The complaint stays the implementation of the decision.
An administrative lawsuit may be launched against the Council decision on the complaint.
Unless the court temporarily stays the execution of the decision during the administrative lawsuit on the filed charges, the broadcaster shall forthwith obey the final Council decision on licence revocation, and if it fails to comply, the compulsory enforcement procedure shall be applied in keeping with the regulations of general administrative procedure.
Broadcasting Licence Revocation as a Sanction for Violating Broadcaster Obligations
The Council shall pronounce a temporary broadcasting licence revocation lasting up to 30 (thirty) days against a broadcaster which, despite the warning pronounced in terms to Article 18 of this Law, continues failing to abide to the provisions of this Law or regulations passed on the basis of it or does not abide to the terms embodied in the broadcasting licence or does not act pursuant to measures for remedying the violations specified in the Council warning.
The permanent revocation of a broadcasting licence shall be pronounced against a broadcaster which has not fulfilled its obligations and has previously been punished at least three times by temporary broadcasting licence revocation.
Broadcasting Licence Expiration
A broadcasting licence shall no longer be valid upon expiration of the term for which the broadcasting licence was issued unless the Agency has reached a decision on its extension in keeping with Article 59 of this Law.
Revision of Terms Set in the Radio Station Licence
The terms set in the radio station licence may be revised by the telecommunications regulatory authority during the work of that radio station only in keeping with a separate telecommunications law and regulations passed on the basis of that law.
3. Broadcasting Fee
Compulsory Fee Payment
The broadcaster shall pay an appropriate fee for the right to broadcast programme (hereinafter broadcasting fee).
In addition to the fee set forth in para 1 of this Article, the broadcaster shall also pay the fee for the use of a radio frequency (a fee for the radio station licence). The fee for the radio station licence shall be fixed and the manner of payment shall be determined in keeping with a separate telecommunications law and regulations based on that law. The fee for the radio station licence shall be paid to the account of the telecommunications regulatory authority.
The broadcasting fee shall be paid to the account of the Agency.
The broadcasting fee shall be fixed on the basis of the following criteria:
1) Number of residents in the area in which the programme is broadcast on the basis of official data of the authorised statistics authority; and,
2) Programme concept of the broadcaster, i.e. the origin and type of programme being broadcast, notably:
a) proportion of scientific, educational, cultural, art, children or self-produced news programmes in the entire broadcast programme;
b) proportion of self-produced programmes or programmes of independent producers with contents listed in point 1) of this sub-para above the quota set by this Law;
c) proportion of the programme of other domestic broadcasters or translated foreign programmes.
The Agency shall set the broadcasting fee with the consent of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, whereby the radio programme fee shall amount to 20 % of the fee set for the broadcasting of television programmes.
The programme broadcasting fee shall be fixed on an annual basis and the broadcaster shall pay the Agency 1/12 of the set annual fee on a monthly basis, with the exception of the day of licence issuance.
The Agency shall pass detailed guidelines for setting the broadcasting fee in keeping with criteria set forth in para 4 of this Article.
The Agency may revise the fee amount during the validity of a broadcasting licence depending on the changes in the broadcast programme. The Agency decision on amending the fee amount must be duly reasoned.
For the first six months of exercising the right to broadcast programme, a broadcaster shall pay the total six months fee set forth in para 5 of this Article within seven days after the day of receipt of the notification of the granted right. In the subsequent period, the broadcaster shall pay its monthly fee installment by the fifth day of the month for the running month.
Exemption from the Obligation to Pay the Broadcasting Fee