Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronic Media
Diversity and plurality of the media are particularly promoted by the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronic Media, established by the Electronic Media Act provisions that have included the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive) solutions and by Croatian Radio-Television Act. The fund is administered by the Council for Electronic Media (VEM), and financed by 3% of Croatian Radio-Television revenues generated from licence fees paid to the Fund. It supports production and broadcasting of programmes of public interest in local and regional radio and television channels, and electronic publications, who serve local communities and sometimes introduce the usage of local dialects in broadcasting (e.g., in the Istria region). This support goes to the promotion of production and broadcasting of electronic media content of public interest at local and regional level, 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 arts.
The support of the Fund is used to promote the production and release of audio-visual and radio programmes of public interest of television broadcasters and/or radio broadcasters at local and regional level, of non-profit televisions, radio broadcasters and non-profit electronic publications (digital news/internet portals), as well as employment of highly qualified professionals by those broadcasters. In order to receive funding the programmes applying to the Fund should be of public interest and especially relevant for: the exercise of citizens' right to public information; promotion of cultural creativity and fostering of cultural heritage; development of education; development of science; development of arts; promotion of works in dialects of the Croatian language; promotion of special cultural projects and events; national minorities in the Republic of Croatia; encouragement of the development of the awareness of gender equality and other highest values of the constitutional system; raising awareness on equality of gender identities and sexual orientations; promotion of programmes for children and youth aiming at enhancing their wellbeing; raising public awareness on the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities as well as promotion and respect of their rights and dignity, including the fight against stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities; historically accurate presentation of the Croatian War of Independence; development and promotion of media literacy; protection of the environment; promotion of health and encouragement of health culture.
The criteria for awarding the Fund support are: significance of the audio-visual and/or radio programme, i.e. the content of the electronic publication for the realisation of objectives referred to in the provisions of the Act; quality and content-related innovation of the offered audio-visual and/or radio programme, i.e. the content of the electronic publication; interest for overall i.e. local and regional cultural development...
It is expected that the diversity of cultural expressions in the relevant categories as described in the Ordinance of the Fund be augmented with the implementation of the measure. That is, that the number of radio, television and electronic publications programmes oriented to the issues of public interest (e.g. dealing with the topic related to citizens’ rights, rights of national minorities, gender equality, promotion of media literacy, development of arts and science, ecological awareness etc.) will be more widely available to citizens.
The Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity in Electronic Media is a fund of the Agency for Electronic Media whose Sources of assistance are ensured by the provisions of the Electronic Media Act and the Croatian Radio and Television Act to the amount of 3% of the total of monthly collected funds that Croatian Radio and Television collects on behalf of fees.
According to the report on the work of the Agency for Electronic Media and the Council of the Electronic Media for 2015 that was submitted to the Parliament, in 2015 there were two calls for funding. In the first call the funds allocated for radio broadcasters amounted to 14.066.001,74 KN (approx. 1.875.466 EUR), non-profit electronic publications 972.000,83 KN (approx. 130.000 EUR), and for non-profit radio 59.500,00 (approx. 7.900EUR). In the second call the funds allocated for TV broadcasters amounted to 14.966.000,00 KN (approx. 199.546 EUR), and for radio 1.000.000,00 KN (approx. 133.333 EUR) (Data: Agency and Council Report 2015).
The last analysis of social impact of the measure was executed in 2014 for the 2010-2012 period of the implementation of the measure. The results showed that co-financing provided by the Fund has made a significant impact on the increase of the breath and the diversity of the media content in the broader public when analysing regional and local radio and TV producers. The analysis showed that a large part of such content would not be produced or distributed without the assistance of the Fund. Co-financing of the Fund has a significant influence on financial sustainability of the media production oriented on the topics of public interest. The analysis showed that in the context of the lower profile of the content of local/regional media, the positioning of the co-financed content is not bad, but there is still a significant space for improvement. The survey that was administered on the representative sample in 30 communities, representing the population of the Republic of Croatia, showed that there is an interest from the side of citizens for topics of public interest. It is significantly more than what is available through local media and the subsidised programmes of publishers, which shows that there is still ample space for increasing the availability of programmes and attracting audiences.