Upon learning that there is a suspicion that one of the broadcast videos was violating child rights, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, launched an investigation to control work legality and regularity of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM).
With a view to taking measures within the competences and safeguarding the best interests of the child, Ms. Jelena Stojanović, the Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights and Gender Equality, initiated own initiative immediate control of the REM’s work scheduled for 2 June 2020.
Within the instigated investigation, Ms. Stojanović requested REM to submit information on what control measures and activities the REM had taken on suspicion of child rights being violated by broadcasting media content, when and which media service providers informed REM that a complaint for non-compliance with the rules on the protection of minors had been filed, as well as whether, when and which media service provider had submitted a request to REM for an opinion on the program content compliance with the Rulebook on the Protection of Minors’ Rights in the field of Providing Media Services.
The Deputy Protector of Citizens also requested REM to provide information whether the regulatory body had examined if the broadcast media content had been in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as with the Law on Electronic Media and the Rulebook on Protection of Minors' Rights in Media Services, the implementation of which REM monitors.
In addition, Ms. Stojanović requested REM to provide responses within 15 days on all questions, as well as on the planned measures and activities if none had been undertaken up to that moment.
The Institution of the Protector of Citizens is mandated to control the work of the organizations with delegated public powers, REM being one of them, pursuant to Article 1 of the Law on the Protector of Citizens. She has pointed out that neither monitoring the work of media service providers, nor prohibiting nor approving the broadcasting of any sort of media content falls within the Protector of Citizens’ competence, even though sometimes it might be erroneously concluded.
The Deputy Protector of Citizens has once again urged all social life stakeholders to mandatorily respect child rights and to act in the best interests of each of us, as assessed in every specific situation, as well as to interpret and implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a view to advancing physical, mental and moral development of a child.
Ms. Stojanović has also called on REM to carry out its control activity as soon as possible if it has failed to do so up to now in order to react as urgently as possible, if a violation of the rights of the child is established, pursuing the best interest of the child as the most vulnerable category of the population. Every state authority, institutions and public institutions in every activity, affecting the child directly or indirectly, must attach paramount importance to the best interests of the child, the Deputy Protector of Citizens has said.