Government ready to amend the Law on Electronic Media to improve legal structures.
5.3.7 Mass media
Following recommendations after the screening process for the Chapter on Information Society and Media, the government prepared the proposal for the new Law on Electronic Media in 2009 in order to bring Croatian media legislation fully into line with the acquis communautaire. The new Law on Electronic Media was adopted in December 2009 in order to respect the deadline set by the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The new Law on Electronic Media (2009, amended 2011) follows the main principles outlined in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive regarding the amount of Croatian and European audio-visual works as well as the amount of programmes produced by independent producers. It regulates commercial television and radio broadcasting and its provisions regarding content also apply to the public service broadcaster, HRT (Croatian Radio-Television), which is regulated by the new Law on Croatian Radio-Television adopted in 2010 and amended in 2012. The adopted changes relate to the organisation (management structure and Programme council), functioning (programming and contents) and financing of the Croatian Radio Television.
The Law on Electronic Media also defines the basic criteria and procedures for awarding licenses. The Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) is managed by The Council for Electronic Media (VEM), an independent regulatory body that awards licences to radio and television broadcasters. Regulation of the new media and the Internet in particular has not been developed so far. This poses a problem for the functioning of portals and new media in general.
The Fund for the Promotion of Diversity and Pluralism of Electronic Media created by the new Law on Electronic Media obliges the HRT (Croatian Radio-Television) to contribute 3% of revenues generated from licence fees to the Fund. This support goes to the promotion of the production and broadcasting of electronic media content of public interest on local and regional levels, which is important for the right of citizens to public information, the rights of national minorities, promotion of cultural creativity, and development of education, science and art. The numerous discussions on media policy in Croatia have engendered a set of recommendations on the improvement of the legal structures regulating media. The government announced its readiness to amend laws in order to revise the regulations, including the definition of electronic publications, which would enable the independent media to compete for finance from the Fund.
The Law on Media (2004, amended in 2011) regulates the print media. The Law on Electronic Media and the Law on Media were modified and amended in July 2011 to help increase the visibility of media ownership.