Bosnia and Herzegovina: draft law threaten independence of regulator

Vienna – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said the new draft electronic communications law in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a step to modernise this field, but expressed concern that the draft in its current form could seriously impact on the independence of the Communications Regulatory Agency.

“I welcome some positive aspects of the draft legislation, however certain elements need to be changed and more clearly defined to safeguard the independence of the Communications Regulatory Agency,” Mijatović wrote in a letter to the Transport and Communications Minister Damir Hadzic, presenting a comprehensive legal review of the draft law.

“Independent regulators play a key role in ensuring media pluralism and media freedom in any country,” she wrote, recalling that Bosnia and Herzegovina took the lead in broadcast and telecommunications regulation, when the country established the first converged regulatory agency in South-Eastern Europe in 2001.

“As this Law would replace the current Law on Communications, there are certain elements related to audio-visual matters that need to be safeguarded and preserved. Relevant legislation needs to be harmonized with the new Law in order to enable the regulator’s continued functionality,” Mijatović said, noting that inconsistencies could have a negative impact on the media environment.

The legal review, commissioned by the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, was prepared by Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, a renowned international expert in media law. It includes a number of recommendations to the authorities.

Source: OSCE.

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