Regulatory Bodies

The Independent Media Commission (IMC) was established in 2005 as the independent regulatory body tasked with media regulation and specifically with licensing. The Commission is also mentioned in the Constitution, at Article 141, but its function is defined by the Law on Independent Media Commission. Its seven members are nominated by citizens and chosen by the Parliament. The IMC also receives complaints that can be presented by any individual or organization. Complaints can be filed by phone, fax, e-mail or in person. The Commission can try to settle the complaint without formal sanction; if this is not possible, it can issue a “Notice of Violation” and impose formal sanctions via a legal proceeding.

There is also a Media Appeals Board (MAB) providing the citizens with the possibility to appeal decisions taken by the IMC. It has three members (one Kosovo and two international judges) with a three-year mandate and they are appointed by the head of UNMIK, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN. Decisions of the MAB are binding.

The Regulatory Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications (RAEPC) was established with the Law on Telecommunications (Regulation 2003/16). It is an independent regulatory agency and as its website states, it is “responsible for licensing and supervising the providers of telecommunications services in Kosovo; encouraging the private sector participation and competition in the provision of services; setting standards for all service providers in Kosovo, and, establishing provisions for consumer protection”. The agency aims to develop the telecommunication sector of Kosovo and thus it promotes market entry and competition between licensed service providers. The members of its board are appointed by the Parliament. The Authority also resolves disputes, including those related to the issues of joint use of facilities and assets, between entrepreneurs.

The Licensing/Authorisation and Monitoring Commission operates under the umbrella of the RAEPC. Its aims to analyze, evaluate and monitor the implementation of license terms.

The Ombudsperson Institution’s role is to receive and investigate complaints from every person in Kosovo who claims his/her human rights have been violated by public authorities. The Ombudsperson was created in 2000 and is an independent authority which assists citizens to gain access to the public documents being refused to them by public authorities. This institution was created by law on Access to Public Documents (Article 17). Its duty is to ensure an unobstructed exercise of the right of access to public documents. The Ombudperson Institution staff members must always respect a specific Code of Ethics (available here in pdf) when carrying on their work.

Self-Regulatory Bodies

The Radio and Television of Kosovo has its own Ombudsman, also defined as guardian of professional standards and the principles of journalistic ethics who is a member of the Board of the RTK. As explained by the Code of the RTK (see Codes of Ethics section) at article 16, he or she “supervises the implementation of the professional standards and principles of journalistic ethics defined by this document [the Code of the RTK] . Furthermore, the journalist protects the interests of the license fee payers, as well as those of journalists and other radio and television program makers, against groundless complaints and criticism and against unfounded measures taken by individual editors”.

The Guardian also registers complaints and opinions or reactions from RTK audience and employees. The Guardian can publish his/her findings to acknowledge the audience of any possible violation of the code of ethics.

The Press Council of Kosovo (PCK) was established in 2005 following the model of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the self-regulatory body responsible for overseeing the print and electronic media sector. The main task of the Press Council is to monitor adherence to the Code of Ethics by the media. The PCK can ask newspapers which are responsible for breaches of the Code to publish its judgments but it can only issue opinions and not binding sentences (here an example of an opinion the Council expressed following a complaint). The Press Council is composed of 13 members who are editors-in-chief of the main national newspapers.

As reported by UNESCO’s publication “Professional journalism and Self-regulation: new media, old dilemmas in South East Europe and Turkey” (pdf here) the council still has not reached high visibility in, and acceptance by, the media community. But recently it has increased its activities and its becoming more and more an important player in the region, with awareness campaigns and professionals training.

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