Free media contribute to the development of a stable and open democracy in which all citizens are informed properly by the media about the issues that are of relevance to them. Freedom of media and expression is one of the fundamental rights of the EU; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Since the year of 2000, the EU supported media in Serbia with €33 million.

The assistance to the media focused on direct support to media in quality investigative reporting, trainings for journalists and assistance in the transformation of the public media services. The programme supported aligning media legislation with the EU Directive (Audio-visual Media Services Directive), with a focus on enforcement of the freedom of expression, democratisation of media and application of EU standards in the media field.

The EU supported implementation of the “Strategy for Public Information System Development in the Republic of Serbia by 2016” (Media Strategy), that included the support for the drafting of the Law on Public Information and Media, Law on Electronic Media and Law on Public Service Broadcasting. Capacity building of the relevant stakeholders in the field of media is provided through organisation of tailor made workshops, seminars and coaching sessions on implementation of new laws, project co-financing and protection of minors. Two pilot media literacy campaigns will be launched in 2015 to promote the importance of media literacy among young people in Serbia.

Freedom of media and harmonisation in the field of audiovisual policy are covered by Chapter 23 and Chapter 10. The implementation of the Media Strategy indicates to a very slow pace of progress in this field. Capacity building among public authorities, media and information society stakeholders is required to meet EU standards and properly apply new media laws in their daily work and help citizens to protect their rights to the freedom of expression and information.

A further transformation of the media scene with clear orientation towards protecting freedom of expression and right to information, and ensuring media pluralism is necessary in line with international legislation and standards (in particular with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

The new Civil Society Facility 2014-2015 programme, with the budget of €2,5 million, aims at enforcing the freedom of expression and investigative reporting through quality media production in the area of rule of law. An enabling regulatory and policy environment for the media freedoms and media pluralism will be enhanced, as well as strengthening the functioning and influence of the Press Council.

For more information:

Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia
Tel: +381 (0)11 30 83 200