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Special Reports -> Southeast Europe
10.01.2017: Brankica Petković, Saša Panić, Sandra B. Hrvatin


SEE Media Observatory


The position of public service broadcasters in the media systems of the countries of South East Europe gives them, in theory, the best vantage from which to protect public service values in media operations and journalism. Since the end of 2012 when the regional partnership of civil society organisations was established under the name “South East European Media Observatory”, we have promoted this broad set of values, capturing them in the concept of media integrity. Media reforms are an urgent task for any democratic government in the region, but such reforms, including each reform policy and its measures, must be guided by the criterion of whether they strengthen these public service values in media and journalism: i.e., media integrity. Any such media reform with media integrity as a guiding principle needs to focus on public service broadcasters, making their governing and funding models as well as their professional standards completely congruent with media integrity principles.


At the end of the four-year period of SEE Media Observatory research and advocacy aimed at the promotion and implementation of media integrity principles, we have decided to collect information on the governing and funding models of public broadcasters in the countries included in the regional partnership. Through a comparative overview, we seek to establish similarities and differences, as well as where good practices in the governing and funding models which empower the public media for serving the public interest and resisting political interference can be found. This regional overview can support media reform initiatives with useful comparative data.


Besides the countries that have been the focus of the SEE Media Observatory – the EU-enlargement countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey, in this regional overview we have also included Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. However, owing to the extraordinary situation in Turkey since July 2016, we could not engage with the partner there to collect the requested data. 


Therefore, the countries covered by the regional overview include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. In Hungary, the public service media system is very complex and differs from that in other countries. It was established by controversial media regulation in 2010. For certain elements of the governing and funding model, we could not sufficiently trace the comparable solutions in Hungary, as these would have been manifold and complicated. 


In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, the public media system includes more than one public service media organisation. On the national level in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is BHRT, and then in the two entities there are also RTVFBiH in the Federation and RTRS in Republika Srpska. In Serbia, the public service media organisation at the national level is RTS, and there is also a public service media organisation at the level of Vojvodina province – RTV. In our regional overview, we focus mostly on those public service media at the national level.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an association of public service media in Europe, shared with us their data on the funding of their member organisations. In their reports, no data on Kosovo are available, since the public service media organisation in Kosovo has not been yet accepted into the EBU.


For this regional overview, we have decided to use the EBU terminology now commonly applied in EU documents and the latest regulations, which take into account that the services provided by public broadcasters now include online operations. Instead of the term “public service broadcasters” (PSB), which we used in all previous SEE Media Observatory studies, we are using the term “public service media” (PSM).


Full report in PDF file (top right)

 Southeast Europe
 Southeast Europe
 Southeast Europe
 Southeast Europe