Vanhoutte presented a draft law for the Media Agency


Belgian facilitator Peter Vanhoutte at today’s briefing with reporters said that at the negotiations, the proposal presented to the International Community for the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media, were going very slowly.

Mr Vanhoutte said the law would apply less restrictions and penalties and would encourage the media to be more professional. He also added that it is envisaged to increase the professionalism of the members of the Council of the Agency for Audio and Audio-Visual Services as well and to review the system of funding public service.

The law provided for the members of the Council of the Agency for Audio and Audio-Visual Services to be elected by a two-third majority in Parliament after applying the competition.

They should be professionals and experts, and to be selected will have to secure the support of the professional experts of that field, NGOs and Universities. Council members will have a term of five years with the possibility of one re-election. The law provides for the Council to appoint the Director of the Agency who will only have executive powers.

As required by law, if a certain media outlet violates the law, the Council will need to start dialogue with the media. The first measure was to be a warning, and the license will be seized only if the rigorous violations.

Likewise the members of the Council of Radio and Television will be elected.

In the law, the proposed budget of the public service will be one percent of the state budget and the money can be spent independently. It is expected that taxes will be reduced on commercial TV stations from 18 percent to 5 percent.

The law which was presented by Mr Vanhoutte, dictates that all messages which the government wants to broadcast through public service and private broadcasters, and they are for public interest will not be charged.

The Belgian facilitator said that more time and more attention should be devoted to human resources in the public service and stressed the need to employ more young journalists, because the average age of employees in the public service is 58 years.

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