Regulator: Communications Regulatory Agency
Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a regulatory institution for the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. Its authority includes licensing in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunication, as well as overseeing implementation of rules and regulations related to both sectors. Television and radio broadcasters are legally required to follow CRA standards on hate speech, fairness, impartiality, non-violence, privacy and protection of minors, as well as the rules on commercial communications.
CRA acts either upon complaints or upon its own findings from monitoring. However, the monitoring facilities are rather limited, so it acts mostly upon complaints from the public. If a breach of rules is determined, the CRA can impose sanctions ranging from oral and written warnings, financial penalties to suspension or revocation of license.
Complaints regarding provision of services in the field of audiovisual media (as well as telecommunications and the use of radio frequency spectrum) can be filed through an online form on the Agency’s website. Complaints can also be submitted by phone, in person, or sent by post, using a form downloadable from the same web page. Natural persons and legal entities can file complaints. Complaints can also be submitted anonymously, in which case the Agency is unable to notify the complainant about the outcome of their complaint.
Given that broadcasters are obliged to keep recordings of their content for six weeks, complaints should be submitted no later than six weeks after the program was broadcast. If a complaint is submitted later, CRA may not be able to fully respond.
Self-regulation: Press Council
The Press Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a self-regulatory body for print and online media. It is a non-governmental organization that promotes professional standards in journalism, mediates between citizens and media outlets, and deals with breaches of professional standards, mainly based on citizens’ complaints.
The Complaints Commission of the Press Council examines citizens’ complaints about perceived breaches of the Press and Online Media Code of BiH. The commission receives between 300 and 400 complaints in a year of which some 45 percent are resolved through mediation between the complainant and the media outlet. If mediation is unsuccessful, the Complaints Commission reviews the merit of the complaint and issues a decision, which is then delivered to the media outlet in question and published on the Press Council website. Members of the Complains Commission are representatives of publishers, journalists, members of the judiciary and academic community.
The Press Council has no authority to impose measures on media outlets, so the system is dependent on the willingness of media outlets to respect decisions of the Complaints Commission.
The Press Council’s website provides detailed instructions on how complaints can be filed.
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