OpEd

The wood that does not allow you to see the mountain

Democracy is not maintained by lynching or muscle-calling. It is held through dialogue and finding solutions that are in the public interest. For the democracy of the fragile state of Kosovo, it is very important that the fourth pillar of power is strong, stable and healthy. The cramming of little Kosovo with all these electronic media, without counting the portals which are a story in itself, does not help the cause. On the contrary

The issue of land exchange in Pristina remains silent these days due to the temporary measure approved by the Court, as well as due to the annulment of the decision by the Municipal Assembly. But this, however, does not close this scandal, because it is a fact that happened. Whether there is room for serious investigations by the State Prosecutor's Office or not, I believe there is. Whether the investigation will take place remains to be seen.

And, despite the breakdown of the coalition at the municipal level and the uncertainty of how to proceed in Pristina, the head of the LDK continues to remain silent. Almost this work is happening somewhere far away and not in the largest municipality of Kosovo with about 200 thousand voters. This approach simply leaves you speechless. But the lack of comment does not mean oblivion when election time comes. Chances are that this whole scandal will cost LDK a lot.

Meanwhile, as if it were a telenovela that takes place in parallel, the decision of the CBK to ban the circulation of the dinar in Kosovo continues to be talked about with noise and reproach. Criticism directed at the Government is about taking the decision without any prior consultation with the allies.

The political developments of the last 25 years show that if there had been consultation on this topic, the dinar would not have been banned now and would have continued, as always, with the parallel economies in Kosovo. Because if this topic had been thought seriously, the dinar would have been removed from Kosovo. However, it is evident that there was a lack of political will for such a thing. Perhaps because the Serbian currency has been used as a kind of leverage to keep Belgrade quiet. Despite the fact that the introduction of dinars by trucks has actually caused the erosion of Kosovo's economy. Despite the fact that the uncontrolled introduction of money on the wheel has also helped the maintenance of criminal organizations and has enabled Serbia to clean money as much as possible.

Another is the issue of how the dinar issue was managed. It is an undeniable fact that there has been a lack of information campaign. Payment security solutions have been missing. However, it was a very late decision, which even our international friends do not oppose - because it is a sovereign decision, and not necessarily a political one.

Therefore, when someone remembers to say that this is an issue that should be discussed in Brussels, you have nothing else to say but that they are completely wrong. With demands of this type and at this rate, it would not be surprising that in Brussels there is also a discussion about the sleeping schedule we should have.

For a country, which today turns 16 years of independence, many things would have to happen and develop without the need to call on Brussels, the country that imposes sanctions because it decides to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity, with the power, however limited, that you have. So, instead of another pair of sanctions, perhaps the moment should come to support the one who defends and to punish the one who attacks.

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Could it be called an attack? Maybe. But the invitation of the Parliamentary Committee for Media..., members of the Independent Committee for Media, in search of their resignation for a decision regarding allowing the re-broadcasting of "Arena Sport" channels on the Artmotion platform still resembled something landing and an impromptu trial.

We will remember that the channels of "Arena sport" had glorified the terrorists of Banjska and had served to spread propaganda against Kosovo immediately after the event in the village in the north of Kosovo last September. The KPM had reacted quickly, and had banned their broadcast until a further decision.

I don't know what prompted the members of the IPC to change the decision after four months. The members of the KPM declared that "Arena sport" had apologized and that it had promised not to make such mistakes again. Honestly, I would have a hard time taking their apology seriously and even harder to believe that they wouldn't "make a mistake" again, because the network is owned by Serbian Telekom, that is, the Serbian state operator. It does not take much imagination to conclude that it is a network that supports the current government in Belgrade.

Two meetings were held where members of the KPM were almost accused of treason and in which it was repeated many times that they would have to be dismissed from the Assembly. Both meetings turned into a pressure campaign for KPM members to resign instead of waiting for dismissal. Because the law foresees a slightly different procedure for dismissal than for their appointment in this body that represents a constitutional category.

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In the years that I have been leading KOHEN, this is the first time I have seen how the members of the IPC are held accountable in this way by the Assembly, namely by the Parliamentary Committee. Perhaps an independent investigation could prove any irregularities in the decision-making of these sports channels, but as long as it does not exist, the accusations made can only be assumptions and tools to exert pressure for a purpose that does not turn out to be true. be very clear.

We will remember that this composition of the KPM is the first in the last 20 years that has been taken a little more seriously with the licensing and ownership documentation of licensed media in Kosovo. It is the first that has adhered to legal procedures and has not hesitated to make immediate political decisions, even when the alleged owners are the bearers of documents that say "Pec" or "Djakovica, Srbija". It is perhaps one of the only ones that has tried to help harmonize the new Law with the European regulation, knowing that there are many problems in front of it that have accumulated over time, with the politicization of the KPM, as well as with the appointment of representatives of interest groups at the head of the institution, with the sole purpose of maintaining the monopoly in the market.

So, while I don't like this aggressive form of questioning of the members of the KPM at all, because I believe that things can be discussed without the need for patriotism and accusations, I have to say that I cannot agree with the assessment either that the lives of the members of the IPC are endangered due to the protection of their positions.

It seems to me that untold dramas are being created on both sides. And that after focusing on the topic of sports channels, the most serious problems that have accumulated in the media market of Kosovo are being pushed into oblivion.

Of much greater concern should be the fact that the KPM, in the name of market liberalization, currently has 84 radio stations licensed on the terrestrial network; 19 televisions on the terrestrial network (3 national, 9 regional and 7 local), 118 cable television channels, of which even 28 are classified as "generalistic", i.e. with general programming.

So a state with a population of 1.8 million people has even 137 television and 84 radio stations competing in a marketing market that has remained the same for 15 years. A country that needs media independent of any political and financial influence allows the endless creation of television stations (part of platforms or not) which cannot be kept off the air, because their production, as well as their purchase, cannot be done without financial means. Except if they are stolen.

For concern, the fact that even after 25 years, Kosovo does not have its own sports platform, which, if we had thought, and if we had worked for the interest of Kosovo, Telekom of Kosovo should have created it. So, instead of having the strategic Kosovar enterprise as the leader in providing this content, we have opened the way for platforms from Albania, and from a few years ago also from Serbia.

For many concerns the laying of cables and the control that they have in the market. There are a total of 34 cable service providers, of which five are "big players". In both cases, ownership is highly questionable and it is believed that they are owned by a single corporation, which in this scheme controls over half of the market.

All these issues are dough that must be regulated by the new IMC Law. And instead of dealing with the key problem – preserving the media market, where competition will be healthy and where the spaces for influence of certain interest groups will be closed, the debate is focused on whether the KPM should have 11 members with identical mandates.

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The members of the KPM have always been chosen by the Assembly, and almost always according to political preferences. The same thing happened last time too.

The KPM law can only be approved by the Assembly, and there have always been those with great power of influence who have protected their interests by law to the detriment of the media. This is because there were few MPs who read the bills before they were voted on. Even fewer of those who have found out the content of what they have voted for. They had no reason to - they were told how to vote.

Democracy is not maintained by lynching or muscle-calling. It is held through dialogue and finding solutions that are in the public interest.

For the democracy of the fragile state of Kosovo, it is very important that the fourth pillar of power is strong, stable and healthy. The cramming of little Kosovo with all these electronic media, without counting the portals which are a story in themselves, does not help the cause. On the contrary.

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