Kosovo Assembly media committee discusses law on the public broadcaster

Financial restructuring and other amendments to the Law on RTK were discussed by MPs and stakeholders in an attempt to make the public broadcaster more sustainable.

The Kosovo Assembly media committee hosted media representatives and civil society members in the first public discussion about amending the Law on Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK. The committee initiated a process to change the law with the aim of restructuring the public broadcaster’s funding, criticized for being dependent on public financing.

To make the public broadcaster more financially sustainable, the draft amendments suggest the re-introduction of a blanket prepaid fee, dividing 0.7 per cent of Kosovo’s state budget for RTK, and collecting ten per cent of RTK’s budget through advertisement.

The draft also contained a proposal that the Kosovo Assembly, which ratifies the broadcaster’s budget, should dismiss RTK management when budget reports from the broadcaster fail to be ratified at the Assembly.

Through a letter read by Mirjeta Hoxha, a media committee member, the European Broadcasting Union, EBU, expressed concern about this amendment.

“[This amendment] will severely hamper the independence of RTK,” the EBU statement read.

The issue was also discussed by other committee members, with Ferat Shala calling it a “technical error” in the draft that should be ignored and disregarded.

BIRN’s Executive Director Jeta Xharra also provided her feedback regarding the amendment and supplementation on the Law on RTK.

While Xharra celebrated the fact that a committee member has proposed that RTK shows should be investigative in character, she also suggested for the committee members to make certain changes regarding the board of RTK.  

“The board of RTK is perceived as a job by some of its members. To avoid such perceptions, I propose that board members be provided with a per diem allowance rather than a paid salary. Only by undergoing this change can we reveal the individuals working their hardest to lift up, rather than weigh down RTK’s image.”

With regards to sustainable financing, Xharra also suggested that the amended law should introduce fees for cable service providers that broadcast RTK.

Jeton Ahmeti from the Institute GAP proposed a reduction of the board, which currently counts 11 people as its members. He also emphasized that Kosovo’s public broadcast board members are paid more than in other countries in the region.

Parties who participated in the meeting were invited to submit their comments in written form to the Committee within 10 days.

02/03/2017 - 16:18

02 March 2017 - 16:18