The Constitutional Court of Serbia found that the provision of the Law on Protection of National Minorities’ Rights and Freedoms, which provides that the state “may establish special radio and television stations which would broadcast programs in minority languages” is unconstitutional.
Article 17, paragraph 2 of the Law states: “The State will provide informative, cultural and educational content in the minority languages for the radio and television programs of public broadcaster, and may also establish special radio and television stations which would broadcast programs in minority languages.”
At the meeting held on October 3rd the Constitutional Court found that the provision of Article 17 Paragraph 2 of the Law on Protection of National Minorities’ Rights and Freedoms (“Službeni list SRJ”, No. 11/02 and ” Službeni glasnik RS”, No. 72/09 ) in the part that follows: “and may establish special radio and TV stations which would broadcast programs in the languages of the national minorities” is not in the compliance with the Constitution.
The Constitutional Court of Serbia has divided the procedures related to the laws on the protection of minority rights. Acting on the initiative of Association of independent electronic media (ANEM) the Constitutional Court initiated proceedings to review the constitutionality of the provision in question of Article 17 of the Law on Protection of National Minorities’ Rights and Freedoms, finding that the problematic part is the whether the current legal system provides an opportunity for a state to establish the radio and television stations, apart from the public broadcaster, which was established by the law. For this kind of interference by public authority into the fulfilling rights to freedom of expression in this particular case there is no legitimate basis laid down by Article 10 paragraph 1 of the European Convention, nor is such interference necessary in a democratic society.
In their press release, ANEM stated that after this decision of the Constitutional Court it is clear that the mismatch of law in the legal system is a serious matter that must be taken into account. Therefore, we should not stop after this provision. Similar provisions which are a part of other listed laws should have to be removed as soon as possible from the legal system.