Film, video and photography
The former Yugoslavia was very well-known for its film production, not only of long features, but also in the field of documentary and short films. 20-30 films were produced per year. However, in 1991, with the dissolution of the country, only about five films were being produced per year. This situation changed with the support for film production coming from both State Television and from the Ministry of Culture after 2000, with the significant increase in the support of the Eurimages fund, as well as the number of regional co-production projects.
There are two basic public institutions responsible for cinematography in Serbia:
- the Yugoslav Film Archive (one of the five largest film archives in the world); and
- the Film Centre of Serbia.
Following the agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Media and the Film Centre of Serbia from 2016, the Ministry allocated a total of 600,000,000.00 RSD for all programmes of the Film Centre. 322,841,214.00 RSD was allocated for projects of international cooperation and promotions, which include participating in 5 film markets on international festivals, 1 co-production market, 4 special programmes from the field of international cooperation (presenting Serbian film in Helsinki, Bucharest and New York), 2 memberships in networks and support to the Serbian representative of the Academy Awards (Oscars) in the category “best feature film in a foreign language”.
In Serbia, laws for film are considered out-dated and are currently being revised (the current law is the Law on Cinematography from 1991). In anticipation of the adoption of a new Film Law, the Ministry of Culture and Media organised an open competition for state funding to new films. From 2002 to 2007, 10.18 million EUR were invested in feature films, in a number of short films and some documentaries, some of which received awards from international and national film festivals.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now the Republic of Serbia) entered Eureka Audio-visual in 2001. It also became very active within the South East European Cinema Network due to the fact that in 2004 (November 17th) it became an active member of the European Film Fund for coproduction, distribution and exhibition of creative cinematographic and audio-visual works – Eurimages (as a part of the Federal Union of Serbia and Montenegro at that time). According to the statistics, Serbian authors obtain a significant percentage of the allocated means.
Currently there are five cinema venues in Serbia, within the Network of Europa Cinemas – in Belgrade – Cultural Centre Belgrade (KCB), Art Cinema “Museum” and Dom Sindikata, as well as Multimedia centre “Kvart” in Kraljevo and “Cinema” in Zrenjanin.
In the framework of assistance to digitalisation of theatres that are members of the Eurimages network, in 2011 two of the venues were supported – cinemas in Kraljevo and Belgrade’s KCB. This is a tri-partite project involving support at the local level, the Ministry and the Eurimages. There is also the plan to continue digitalisation of other cinema venues in Serbia (e.g. Eurocinema in Subotica, venue of Palić festival, Cinema in Leskovac, etc.).
The Ministry of Culture has formed a Group of experts for audio-visual heritage in order to create a new institution dealing with audio-visual material. The idea is to transform the “Film News” (Filmske novosti) and to create an institution able to maintain, save, and restore film, video and audio production – similar to the functioning of the French INA (Institut National d’Audio-visuel).
Laws related to the mass media are the Law on Broadcasting (2002), the Public Information Law (2003), the Law on Telecommunication (2003), the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance (2004) and the Law on Advertising (2005).
The Law on Broadcasting stipulates:
- that broadcasting licenses are to be given on the condition that a minimum of 40% of the transmission time is filled with programmes of European origin, 10% of which must be produced by independent producers; and
- that the duration of commercials will be limited and controlled according to the programming, i.e.: a film may only be interrupted twice and a television programme only after 45 minutes of showing.
The Law on Broadcasting also sets general programme quotas. The following obligations have been made:
- broadcasters are obliged to programme at least 50% of air time with Serbian language content. Within this share, half must be its own programmes / productions; and
- local and regional broadcasters, if they are predominantly state-owned, are obliged to allocate 10% of their air time to independent productions, which can also be co-productions.
The Law on Advertising regulates advertising and sponsorship issues. The commercial broadcasters are not allowed to use more than 20% of their daily airtime for advertising (maximum 12 minutes per hour of programming). Advertising time is limited to 10% of daily airtime (maximum 6 minutes per hour of programming) for public (national, local and regional) and civil broadcasters. These rules are not followed by most of the commercial broadcasters or the public service broadcasters.
The Data Secrecy Law (2009) protects information related to national security, public safety, and foreign affairs, among other categories. Defamation was decriminalized in 2012 and is now a civil offense. However, articles that criminalise insult remain. Some confusion within the judiciary over Serbia’s media laws continues. The authorities frequently obstruct journalists’ efforts to obtain public information under the 2004 Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance. According to the Freedom House report (2018), “The Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media issues licenses to broadcasters. However, its processes are non-transparent and it has yet to prepare by-laws that permit the implementation of some 2014 reforms, and the EU has encouraged it to take additional measures to ensure its independence.”
The 2010 Law on Electronic Communications requires telecommunications providers to keep records on the source, destination, and timing of all electronic communications for one year for potential government use, provided that a court approves such requests for information.