The issues of media ownership concentration and
the formulation and implementation of an effective media legislation
received considerable attention in recent years. Within the Media
Watch program, we drew attention to the threat these issues pose
to media pluralism in 2002 based on the analysis made by Sandra
B. Hrvatin and Lenart Kueie. One year later, in 2003, a regional
research and advocacy project was proposed and approved. It was
carried out from July 2003 to June 2004 by the Peace Institute
within the South East European Network for the Professionalisation
of the Media (SEENPM). Its goal was to bring together the post-socialist
European countries and initiate a debate about media concentration
and potential changes in public policies in this Weld.
This book contains the regional overview compiled on the basis
of the 18 country reports written for this project, the full text
of the Slovenian report and the conclusions and recommendations
of the international conference organized upon the conclusion of
The objective of the regional research and advocacy project was
to examine the media ownership situation in the countries of South
East Europe and eu member states from Central and Eastern Europe.
The emphasis was on the legal framework and the mechanisms employed
by individual countries to implement legal provisions, the privatisation
process, the ownership structure of the main media outlets and
the influence of media ownership on the pluralism and independence
of the media.
Eighteen researchers and journalists from Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia,
Kosovo/a, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland,
Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, collected and analysed
relevant data from October 2003 to February 2004.
The reports resulting from this project, including the regional
overview, reXect the situation at the end of 2003/ beginning of
2004. However, media markets in these countries are dynamic, with
ownership structures and the number of media outlets changing virtually
on a daily basis, and media legislations being continually amended.
So, inevitably, certain data in these reports had become obsolete
by the time of their publication. Nevertheless, the collected data
clearly expose the patterns that underlie the media market operation
and regulators’ and media owners’ behavior in the countries under
consideration i.e., their impact on media pluralism and independence.
The reports submitted in this project can be found at www.mirovni-institut.si/media_ownership and
they have also been published in the book entitled Media Ownership
and Its Impact on Media Independence and Pluralism (available
only in English). The international conference, organised in cooperation
with the Council of Europe upon the conclusion of the project,
took place on June 11 and 12 in Bled (see www.mirovni-institut.si/media_ownership/conference).
Our partner organisations and researchers from participating countries
are responsible for the publication of the findings of the project
translated into their local languages and organisation of public
The project was carried out with the support of the Media Program
of the Open Society Institute, the Guardian Foundation and the
Fresta program funded by the Danish government, and in cooperation
with the media centers and institutes, members of the South East
European Network for the Professionalisation of the Media, several
university departments and Open Society Institute national foundations
in the participating countries.
The project advisory board that extensively participated in the
conceptualisation and execution of this project consisted of Poul
Erik Nielsen, University of Aarhus, Ian Wrigh and Mark Milner,
the Guardian, Algirdas Lipstas, Open Society Institute, and Sandra
B. Hrvatin, Faculty of Social Science and the Peace Institute.
The team at the Peace Institute that enthusiastically led the
project included Brankica Petković, Sandra B. Hrvatin, Lenart J.
Kučić, Olga Vuković, Soren Kloughart and Neva Nahtigal.
The reports drawn for this project and effort invested in their
preparation and presentation derive from the belief that the issue
of media ownership increasingly shapes the way in which the media
relate to public interest and citizens’ rights.