Experts from Turkey, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine reflected on transparency of media ownership at OSCE HDIM

September 30, 2013

Media Law Institute and Niras organised a side event, devoted to transparency of media ownership, on 25September within the OSCE annual HumanDimension Implementation Meeting 2013 that is taking place these days inWarsaw.

Media experts from Turkey, Belarus,Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijanand Ukraineshared their countries` case studies as to the achievements gained and drawbacksfaced regarding transparency of media ownership.

Delivering an up-to-dateoverview of the mass media ownership in Ukraine,Mr Igor Rozkladaj, MLI lawyer, outlined the market structure in Ukraine’s mediasector, consequences of privatization processes and analysed recent legislativechanges.

Mr Vitaliy Yarynych, NGOTelekritika, Ukraine, highlightedpotential of the Public Service Broadcasting as a promising instrument in‘balancing out’ the ownership discrepancy in Ukraine.

Furthermore, Mr Yavuz Baydar,media expert and veteran journalist from Turkey, shared his assessment ofthe Turkish media market as largely private-owned with a widespreadcross-ownership of telecom and construction, gas, insurance and othercompanies.

In her turn, Ms Doina Costin,media lawyer from Moldova,defined the main problems that lead to a lack of transparency and of access toinformation about the owners of media outlets in Moldova as ones arising from theexisting legal framework, despite adopted amendments to the Broadcasting Codeof Moldova.

Also, the media landscape of Belarus was depicted by Mr Andrei Aliaksandrau,Belarusian media expert and journalist, who called the media a weapon in anycountry and affirmed that the state remains a key owner of mass media in Belarus withInternet perceived as the last resort here.

For his part, Mr EminHuseynov, chairman of the Institute for Reporters freedom and Safety in Azerbaijan, gave a comprehensive presentation ofthe media market in Azerbaijan,its regulatory framework governing the media ownership with illustrative examplesof monopolisation in the field.

Finally, experience of Georgia inensuring of the media ownership transparency was shared as a best practice caseby Mr Lasha Tugushi, lawyer and editor of online newspapers. Specifically, thedescribed success was inter alia attributed to the ban of offshore ownershipand enhanced financial transparency of the media outlets in Georgia.

All in all, it appears theEastern Partnership countries and Turkey are facing common challenges inensuring the media ownership transparency, so the experts involved are expectedto compile their follow-up recommendations on the matter.  

Media Law Institute shallequally consider thematic cooperation while refining the recently adopted lawin Ukrainewith the aim to elaborate workable guarantees for the media ownership transparencythat remains a prerequisite for securing media pluralism and freedom ofexpression.

This event was organized with support of DANIDA.