(“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 92/2023)
In the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, number 92 as of October 27th 2023, The Law on Public Information and Media (hereinafter: the “Law on Public Information“) was published, and entered into force on November 4th, 2023.
The Law on Public Information was adopted with the aim of comprehensive improvements in this area. It regulates more closely the activities of media publishers and the establishment of an efficient Unified Information System for transparent monitoring of co-financing of media projects.
The Law on Public Information also provides labor law protection to journalists, which strengthens the basis for protecting professional journalistic integrity from abuse.
One of the key improvements is the introduction of the Record of Media Content Producers, which joins the already existing Media Register maintained by the Business Registers Agency, and some of the most significant novelties are presented below.
- Unified Information System for the Implementation and Monitoring of Co-financing of Projects in the Field of Public Information
The Ministry responsible for public information affairs is authorized to establish and manage the Unified Information System for the Implementation and Monitoring of Co-financing of Projects in the Field of Public Information.
Mandatory data and document entry entities and users of the Unified Information System are:
1) Republic of Serbia, an autonomous province, local self-government unit that conducts public tenders in the field of public information;
2) publishers and producers of media content participating in competitions in the field of public information;
3) journalistic and media associations and media experts who are applying to be members of commissions;
4) representatives of state bodies, the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media and the Press Council who impose measures on the media for violating regulations and professional and ethical standards;
5) members of commissions.
This system will be responsible for enabling registration and obtaining, processing and submitting data, i.e. preparation, and submission of documents in electronic form of importance for the competition, work of the commissions, easier access to media content, as well as preparation and publication of public invitations.
The project co-financing procedure is carried out exclusively through the Unified Information System.
- Record of Media Content Producers
In addition to the Media Register, the Business Registers Agency will also maintain the Record of Media Content Producers. The purpose of keeping this Record will be to provide the public with information about media and media content producers.
A producer of media content is a legal entity or an entrepreneur who, as an activity, produces content intended for publication in the media, and is not a publisher.
The following data are registred in the Record of Media Content Producers:
1) business name, registered office and registration number of the producer of media content;
2) a document that contains data on legal entities and natural persons that directly or indirectly have more than 5% share in the founding capital of media content producers, data on their related parties in the sense of the law regulating the legal status of companies and data on publishers or other producers of media content in which those persons have more than 5% share in the founding capital;
3) data on the amount of funds allocated to the producer of media content in the name of state aid, i.e. aid of small value in accordance with the provisions of this law;
4) other documents on the basis of which the registration was made;
5) date and time of registration;
6) changes to registered data;
7) date and time of data change registration.
Producers of media content are obliged to submit an application for registering data to be entered in the Record of Media Content Producers within six months from the date of establishment of the Record.
- Media Register
The Law on Public Information introduced the obligation of entering additional data in the Media Register, which is maintained by the Business Registers Agency. Media publishers are obliged to register additional data about the media within three months from the date of entry into force of the Law on Public Information, namely:
- personal name and personal identification number of a domestic natural person, or passport number and country of passport issuance of a foreign natural person who is the editor-in-chief of the media, as well as
- a document containing data on legal and natural persons that directly or indirectly have more than 5% of the share in the founding capital of the publisher, data on their related parties in the sense of the law governing the legal status of the companies and data on other publishers in which they have more than 5 % share in the founding capital.
If the publisher does not register the specified data within the prescribed period, the Business Registers Agency will delete the medium from the Registry by official duty, without passing a special act on deletion.
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