Kosovo: Local Laws

Currently, the regulation for defamation and insult are provided by the Civil Law against Defamation and Insult (Law n.02/L-65, pdf available here) but the Penal Code is also enforced.

The Law on the Independent Media Commission (Law No. 04/L-044 adopted in 2012), together with the Article 141 of the Constitution, created the Independent Media Commission (IMC). The law also defines the main guidelines of the broadcasting policy (Article 9) which should be in accordance with Kosovo’s relevant legislation and also “protect and promote the local production, promotes diverse range of quality broadcasting services including widest possible geographic distribution, in the best possible way which will serve all communities in Kosovo, encourage quality educational programmes, promote the financial viability and technical quality of broadcasting in Kosovo, promote the use of new technology and respond to the public right to know and be informed accurate and informative programming”.

The law also provides indications related to Licensing of Audiovisual media service providers (Chapter IV). Licenses are provided for exercising broadcasting in Kosovo and they are provided by the IMC. Article 22 and 23 explain in detail how to apply for a license and how licenses are issued.

According to the law, broadcasters should submit a yearly report on their financial situation and on their activities:

The Law on Radio Television of Kosovo (Law No. 04/L-046, adopted in 2012) changed the way Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) is financed and also authorized the creation of a new Serbian language channel. According to the law, RTK will receive 0.7 percent of the State’s budget. Ten percent of the RTK’s budget should be used to finance the new Serbian language channel.
The Radio Television of Kosovo is administered by a Board of Directors and a General Director. The Board is responsible for the administration of the broadcasting, it is composed of eleven members with a four-year mandate. RTK is defined by the law as a “public institution of particular cultural and public importance, which provides a public service in the field of radio and television broadcasting” (Article 1). The activity of the television is defined as public (Article 38 of the Law).

Radio Television of Kosovo has its own Code of Ethics which provides guidelines for its employees (see Codes of Ethics section).

Article 36 of the Law establishes that the RTK shall appoint a Public Advisory Group to review comments and suggestions from viewers and listeners and of provide advice on specific issues related to RTK programs.

The Law on Electronic Communications (Law O4-109 adopted in October 2012, pdf available here) regulates “electronic communications activities” and states that “the Government shall approve the policy and national strategy on electronic communication activities” (Article 5). The Law also defines the Regulatory Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications (RAEPC) as the “regulatory authority in the field of electronic communications and postal services which perform the tasks defined by this Law and by the other applicable legislation and applies the policy and national strategies of electronic communication sector, defined by the Ministry” (Article 8).

The Law on Access to Public Documents (Law n.03/L-215 promulgated in November 2010, pdf available here) guarantees the right of every natural and legal person to have access, without discrimination on any grounds, following a prior application, to official documents maintained, drawn or received by the public institutions.

Documents can be accessed on request with a written form or electronic form, with exception to information restricted by law. Furthermore, all public institutions are obliged to assign units or officers responsible for receiving and conducting an initial review of applications for access to documents. To implement transparency, the public institutions shall be obliged to publish all that can be made public.

Limitations of the right to access official documents are listed in Article 12. They relate to public security, judicial investigations, privacy, economic and environmental issues. The Ombudsman 2012 report notes (pdf here) that, notwithstanding the fact that, with the adoption of the Law on Access to Public Documents the provisions of the previous Law on Access to Official Documents no. 2003/12 were repealed.

The Law on Information Society Services (Law n.04-094, adopted in March 2012, (pdf available here) has the purpose of making electronic documentation legally equivalent to its traditional counterpart in paper format, in order to facilitate electronic services.

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