The Electronic Press Association, the Independent Journalism Center, Acces-Info Center and Media Guard Association express their disagreement with, and concern about the amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Code which were adopted by the Parliament in the plenary meeting of 23 September 2021. The amendments allow, inter alia, for the possibility to remove any member or members of the Broadcasting Council (BC) from office should such persons be found to abuse their power or improperly fulfill their duties as a BC member.
We are fully convinced that BC members, like members of any public authority, should show accountability or be held accountable. At the same time, we find that the reason for BC’s low efficiency is, in fact, not the irremovability of its members, but the procedure of their appointment which is, contrary to the law, based on political criteria, pretended public competitions and lack of adequate parliamentary control over the way in which such members fulfill their statutory obligations.
We believe that the said amendments discourage representatives of civil society from participating in the competition announced by the specialized parliamentary commission for vacant positions available within the BC. In their current form, the amendments contradict the law’s quality standards (accessibility, predictability and clarity) and can make BC members accountable to any parliamentary majority (due to the risk of being dismissed from their duty any time).
We reiterate our conviction that BC could perform its statutory functions only under the provision of institutional and decisional independence. The new amendments to the law do not enhance BC’s independence but, on the contrary, make the authority susceptible to political will and can cause BC members to make decisions to please the power.
We remain willing and resolute to forward the long-expected changes in the media area. However, we wish the cooperation to be driven by democratic values and standards.
Electronic Press Association
Independent Journalism Center
Media Guard Association