Open television starts in Nis

oktobar 14 2017

The Media Research Center (MIC), together with the partner associations from Prilep (Macedonia), Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Berane (Montenegro), with the support of the European Union, will implement in the next 11 months a project called Open Television (OTV ).

The project envisages the establishment of local non-profit Open Televisions in Niš, Prilep, Prijedor and Berane, targeting certain social groups such as children and youth, minority and ethnic groups, disabled people, elderly, unemployed, socially and physically endangered citizens of Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

The project is initiated based on the fact that public services and private media in these countries, as well as in the world, do not provide timely, objective and adequate information for citizens, especially those belonging to the category of vulnerable groups.

New independent states formed in the last 20 years since the breakup of Yugoslavia are now focused on a pluralistic society, parliamentary democracy, market economy and membership in the European Union. Together with other social systems, the media system is undergoing transformation, which has proven to be slow, unequal and incomplete. The speed and scope of transformation depend to a great extent on the political will of the new elite. Democratization of the media system did not become a factor in the democratization of society as a whole, which was a widespread hope based on the achievements of a ten-year struggle against media repression in the previous regimes.

By 2017, the media system remained structurally dependent on state organs and states managed to preserve control over the most influential media in all newly formed state communities in the Western Balkans


The Open Television project will enable the establishment of local Open Televisions that will provide non-commercial information and educational television services in the region.

Open television will help to unify a multicultural society in the Western Balkans region and encourage understanding of the citizens of Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Open Television will also provide training for activists Civil Society Organization for the production of media content and other related skills, which will contribute to greater participation of CSOs in improving the capacity for objective information of citizens in the local community, through their empowerment and networking. The data indicate that in the four countries mentioned there are 5000 non-governmental organizations that gather around 500,000 people.

OTV will strengthen advocacy efforts undertaken by local civil society actors in co-operation with journalists and media organizations and raise issues related to the freedom of the media and the safety of journalists. In addition, it will enable the establishment of a long-term mechanism for monitoring and advocating the freedom of the media and the safety of journalists, with local and regional actions promoting the freedom of the media and the freedom of expression of journalists and human rights activists in four countries.

The Open Television project will contribute to raising awareness of social problems, informing politicians and holding officials on public issues and citizens' needs. Their news will provide an overview of powerful sectors of society, including private and public domain leaders.

OTV will function as custodians of public interest, promote transparency of the government and public oversight of those who have power, reveal corruption, mismanagement and corporate offenses, and thus represent a means to increase economic efficiency.

The OTV will be a forum for public discussion and discussion of social issues, including those concerning poor and marginalized groups.

In cooperation with civil society and the media, OTV will establish various forms of communication with the public, such as public debates, panel discussions and conversations that will enable citizens to express their views on the content of the program, and to express their wishes and demands.

OTV will encourage the development of media literacy through the development of individual capacities of citizens to use, understand and critically evaluate various aspects of the media and media content. They will be able to create non-discriminatory conditions for the development of information and communication technologies that serve to promote the right to expression and the right to seek, receive and transmit information and ideas, regardless of boundaries.

The OTV project will also enable the advancement of journalistic professionalism with advanced professional training of local journalists and editors, will enable the promotion of journalistic autonomy and self-regulation in the media.

The project involves the production of a television program on OTV and web content on media platforms and social networks Facebook, YouTube, Flicker, Twitter (online reports, columnists reviews, interviews, videos ...)

The key results of the OTV project will be the creation of a professional and creative team in four local communities, the purchase of necessary equipment, training of staff for working on television and the preparation of documentation for obtaining the official license for work in Nis (Serbia), Prilep (Macedonia), Berane (Montenegro) and Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Open televisions will be independent in their work. No one, especially representatives of political organizations, companies or other centers of power, will be able to influence the content of Open Televisions and will not be able to limit their independence and autonomy.   

According to the data of Media Europe 2012, there are 521 television stations, which many call "non-profit media in the community" mainly in Western Europe, while in Eastern Europe, such media do not exist or are concealed as part of a private commercial media sector that forms "phantom" non-profit media.

Non-profit media outlets of local communities have recognized not only the United Nations, but also the European institutions as a special and complementary "third media sector" (MTS) in addition to media public services and commercial media.

European Parliament resolution 2008/2011 and the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 2009 recognize the social value of the media in the community as a source of local information, cultural and linguistic diversity, media pluralism, inclusion and intercultural dialogue, and recommends that Member States provide legal recognition and enable funding of that sector.

MTS exist in some form in the Western Balkans in some of the local communities. However, MTS is not recognized in all legislation as a separate sector. The lack of a valid legal status of the MTS as a special form of media organization has led to the fact that these broadcasters are subject to the regulations applicable to public service broadcasters and commercial media, which is very unfavorable for them.

The project promoter in the Open Television project will be the Media Research Center, as an association of citizens and media coming from a city where media such as Open Televisions have been on several occasions in the past decades.


In 1985, the program of Amateur Television (ATV) was broadcast in Niš in 1986, for the first time in Serbia, the Experimental TV program (ETV NIS86) broadcast from Niska Banja for the citizens of Nis and the surrounding area. Subsequently, in 1998, the experimental program of cable television (KTV) and in 1990, Independent TV NIs (NTV) program. At the time of democratic changes in 2000, a non-profit TV program called Open Television (OTV) which was broadcast for a year on the channel of Niska TV.

Media workers gathered around the Media Research Center using the experience gained over the past years with the opportunities offered by modern technology in the field of telecommunications, along with media workers and activists from civil society organizations from Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, will develop a new model of non-profit "local public service "of citizens in the local communities of the Western Balkans.

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