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The seminar on “Parliamentary Broadcasting”, part of the EU Twinning project “Strengthening the capacities of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in the European integration process”, was held on 18th June 2014 as part of the project component aimed to increase transparency of Parliament’s work and the participation of the civil society in tits activities.

The event was opened by the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Mr. Veroljub Arsic, who said that the Committee sittings are public and available to everyone via direct broadcast on the National Assembly website. In addition, Mr. Arsic mentioned that public debates are organised and the citizens can keep informed about the work of the supreme legislative body via press releases, the archive and shorthand notes. National Assembly Secretary General and Twinning project Leader Ms. Jana Ljubicic said that under the previous mandate, Parliament had done a lot to boost its transparency, which was confirmed by the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection Rodoljub Sabic.

Further, Minister of Culture and the Media Mr. Ivan Tasovac announced that the MPs would soon be discussing three laws which are to regulate the media sector in Serbia. He said he would have liked it if the debate on them could be broadcasted via a parliamentary channel, but even though his Ministry endorses the opening of such a channel, what still needs to be done is to assess the technical capacities for it, who the founder would be and how it would be financed. He said that the Ministry supports any innovation which could help keep the citizens better informed and is conducive to increased freedom of thought and speech, as guaranteed by the Constitution.

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Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Mr. Oskar Benedikt also believes that the Parliament’s transparency had increased in the previous period, citing the organisation of public debates and making the work of the National Assembly bodies public as proof of it and added that the relationship with the independent bodies is better than before. Also, he pointed that with the opening of negotiations on EU membership, a first step has been made. Increased engagement of the Parliament has to follow, therefore it is important to strengthen its control function. In that regard, Mr. Benedikt reminded to the support of the European Union with 1.5 million, through the EU Twining project that organized the current event and aims to strengthen the overall capacities of the National Assembly in the EU integration process.

Greek Ambassador Mr. Constantine Economides said that the National Assembly is an important factor on the road to the EU, saying that parliamentary work needs to be transparent so that, among other things, the public can be informed about the process of European integration.

Furthermore, distinguished experts presented different available modules of European TV channels in the European Parliaments. Andreas Koskinidis and Panos Kouanis of the Hellenic Parliament, Hellenic Parliament TV news editor-in-chief Alexia Koulouri, Controller of BBC Parliament Peter Knowles and LCP Assemblée nationale communication director Virginie Nicolle talked about their experiences of parliamentary broadcast. Head of the Europe by Satellite Department Simona Pilko shared the experience of video broadcast and work of the parliamentary channel at the European Commission, while the Head of EUROPARL TV George Kasimatis spoke about the experience at the European Parliament. Deputy Editor-in-chief of RTS Bojan Brkic spoke about the broadcasting of National Assembly sessions.

This was another successful Twinning event that was attended by MPs, experts from the National Assembly and the Government, Civil Society Organizations and many journalists.

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