The Media Department of the OSCE Mission to Serbia supports the strengthening and empowerment of the media, which will objectively and accurately report on news of public importance, in order to encourage debate and allow democracy to thrive.
Together with the Ministry of Culture, relevant authorities, media associations and professionals, the Media Department assists in drafting and amending media laws to meet international and European standards. The Department co-operates closely with the EU Delegation and the Council of Europe in its legislative activities.
The Media Department also monitors the implementation of key legislation such as the Law on Public Information and the Law on Broadcasting. Together with the Judicial Academy, the Mission organizes training courses on freedom of expression and media legislation for the media and judiciary. It also provides a forum for public discussion on pressing issues in the field of media legislation, such as the transparency of media ownership, state aid to the media and the transition to digital broadcasting. The Mission supports the development of professional, accountable and independent regulatory bodies for electronic media.
The Media Department documents cases where the rights of the media have been violated, in order to highlight the challenges facing the press in Serbia today and to offer sustainable solutions based on the best international practices and the values upheld by the OSCE.
The Department assists the promotion and further expansion of the Press Council's membership among print media in Serbia. Also, the Department supports regional co-operation, dialogue and exchange of experience among journalists from South East Europe through activities carried out in co-operation with journalists’ associations.
The Media Department considers support to the professional development of the media as an integral part of fulfilling its mandate. The programmes work in collaboration with donors in order to improve the professional standards of the media in Serbia. The targeted training programmes throughout Serbia provide an opportunity for print and broadcast media professionals to expand and improve their skills as well as guide them on how to effectively and objectively report on issues surrounding the judicial system, politics, corruption, organized crime, war crimes, diversity and the environment.
In the first half of 2012, the Department will focus on training journalists reporting on the elections process - including balanced and objective coverage of pre-electoral activities, reporting on election day, coverage of post-election negotiations and forming the new state government, as well as the Provincial and local self-government bodies. The Mission's partners in this process will be former BBC journalists and editors and experts from the Deutsche Welle Academy.
The Media Department concentrates on supporting areas of journalism responsible for public interest. The Department also works on strengthening local and regional media through training and by offering support for news production and topical education.
The Media Department works on improving and standardizing the communication channels between the media and authorities. It organises seminars for local civil servants and National Minority Council members.