Transcript of the Press Conference

Simon Haselock: Good afternoon everybody. As promised, we have come here to sort of explain to you how we are progressing on the formation of the Media Commission which you have heard so much about. And there is in fact a press release, which we will issue after the conference, which basically gives the concept, and little bit more detail. I’ll give you some brief introduction and then John Watkinson on my left, who is the leader of the consultancy, the expert consultancy, who are putting together the commission, will then speak to you about the work that he is doing and how far have they progressed, and then you are going to ask us both questions.

As you know there has been much speculation over the formation of this new commission, both within Bosnia and internationally. Much of this has been because, until comparatively recently, most of the thinking on the commission and its detailed structure has been rather conceptual. You have seen the concept, the paper that was originally placed before Bonn, and you’ve seen the language that was in the Bonn document. There have also, as you know, been some highly speculative, and to be frank, ill-informed articles in the international press, suggesting the sort of things that the commission is likely to be. For instance, it talks about licensing journalists, it talks about censorship, it talks about closing down television and newspapers, which is all based on nothing at all really. I will come to this specific question later on…

As I’ve said, John Watkinson is here with me. He is very experienced in this field, and he’s been involved in regulatory processes in many countries, and notably other countries in Eastern Europe as well, and precisely in this sort of discipline, introducing regulatory and licensing regimes for broadcasting and telecommunications. But first, just to remind you of the background, just to put this all in context… You are more aware than I am, about the fact that political control over the media, propaganda, manipulation, etc. contributed considerably to the causes which led to the war in this area, it then fed, the circumstances then fed the antagonism during the war itself, and to be frank, there is much responsibility for holding back the speed of implementation of the peace process since the Dayton agreement in late 1995. You are aware of, specifically, the initial engagement of the International Community and with respect to the Srpska Radio Televizija. You’ll also be aware of our current engagement in trying to restructure all public service broadcasters within Bosnia to adopt the standards which we expected SRT to adopt, and which we expect the whole of the public service sector to adopt within Bosnia. Those are standards which we expect of European and North American broadcasters. You are also aware that there is considerable, to say the least, confusion within Bosnia about the way that the media is regulated at the moment. There is no media law, there is no clear method by which frequencies and frequency applications are allocated and regulated. There is very, very little structure in the legal framework here, and your own people constantly say to us that this is the most important thing, as far as the media is concerned in Bosnia, to introduce a regulatory framework which releases journalists from either political governmental or control by other forces which gives them no legal support or legal framework within which they can work.

As I said, there’s a press release which you’ve got, which explains it in a little bit more detail, but now I will hand over to John who will tell you more about specifics and then we’ll answer your questions. (John…)

John Watkinson: Thank you very much indeed, Simon. First of all I’d like to say to you that I come to Bosnia as, not only a lawyer, a regulatory lawyer, but also as a former journalist. I worked for the BBC for a number of years, and I’d further like to underline that in our team there are two other journalists, or persons with journalistic background, and therefore, I would very much like to underline that the remit which we were given was no way connected with an introduction of any kind of inquisition upon the media in Bosnia. Indeed, quite the reverse, and I think I can speak on behalf of my colleagues and say that we certainly would not have the wish to partake in any such exercise. What we have been asked to do is to introduce into Bosnia a regulatory regime with regard to the media, which brings Bosnia in line with basic developments in the European Union. And to this end, we have therefore set about providing the regulatory framework for a commission, which will act as a regulator in the media sphere. And our purpose in so doing is to provide circumstances in which it is perfectly possible for there to be vigorous, punchy journalism, but to establish that there are some limits beyond which it should not and cannot go.

Our aim therefore is to provide a ring in which there may be a liberal, open form of journalism. But to say that, within that ring, there will be a referee or regulator who will pass judgements as to whether there are excesses which are contrary to the interests of the media and the people of this country. When those take place, then there will be intervention, but as intervention, not as a first step. We want to see open free discussion. And that is the regime which we wish to promote in this country. But, if you like, what we are trying to produce is a regime where there is such a thing as the liberty which restraint brings, that it will be a modest restraint. But if it has to be exercised, then it will be exercised so as to protect the interest, not only of the journalistic profession but, more importantly, the people of this country, in particular in controlling any incitement towards violence. Now, the actual regulatory regime which we are creating, involves the drafting of certain orders, which the Office of the High Representative will enact, which will establish the commission. The commission itself will then introduce a licensing regime so far as the broadcasters are concerned, and thus all stations which broadcast TV or on radio will be invited to apply for licenses. Those licenses will establish the parameters within which those stations can operate, and the licenses will also call up certain codes, programme codes and advertising codes, and those codes will deal with such matters as insuring impartiality, forbidding racial hatred, limiting incitement of violence. But also we wish to introduce into these codes the sort of material and limitations which are common in countries within the EU, and so they will also be matters relating to good taste and decency, the sort of material that you can show to children, the sort of adverts which you can put on. And so, broadcasters will be expected to adhere to the terms of their licence and the terms of their codes. If complaints are made, then in those circumstances they will be considered by the commission. I’d like to say a few words though about the press.

It is considered appropriate that if there is to be a regulatory regime governing broadcast, then is only fair and reasonable that there should be a regime in relation to the press. But, there will not be any question of licensing the press or licensing journalists. But we will ask journalists or the regime will require of journalists that they operate within the reasonable confines of a press code of practice, which will be very similar in its nature to the codes which govern broadcasters. Now, in order to provide for this regime, it is necessary to have an institution, and that institution, basically, will have a director general who will be, it is our intention, drawn from the international community. But above the director general there will be a council to whom the director general will report, and on that council there will be representatives of persons from all the communities in this country. And I should like to underline that iron circumstances where ultimate recourse has to be taken to such measures as close down or termination of licenses, and let me again underline that these are last resorts, these decisions will not be taken by the director general. They will be taken by a panel of members of the council, and on that panel there will be representatives of all the communities in this country.

Now, beneath the director general we intend to have a limited number of departments. One of those departments will be a licensing department, one will be a monitoring and complaints department, and obviously that is very important in any regulatory regime concerning the media. And if those complaints are of sufficient seriousness or gravity, then it would be referred upwards to the panel to deal with. There will also be an engineering department to deal with spectrum and spectrum allocation and then, too, we will have our administrative and financial department. So that the basic structure of the organisation will be relatively simple. We are not interested in creating any former massive bureaucracy here in Bosnia. Presently we are engaged in the search for the heads of those departments and the director general. And good progress has been made in terms of selecting those persons. As I’ve indicated to you, we have prepared the regulatory documents. They are now before OHR. Clearly, there will have to be some discussion and some review. Let me underline that those documents have been prepared after the opportunity to consult with large numbers of representatives from the media in this country. And I might say too that there will be opportunity for representations to be made during the application process for licenses. And we will take into account any representations which are made prior to the actual promulgation on the ground of the license proper and the codes which are called up by those licenses. We are, therefore, we have been and we continue to be active in the promotion of this regime, and it is anticipated and it is the purpose of OHR that this regime should be in place before the beginning of the elections. Thank you.

Simon Haselock: Questions, please. (Thanks John)

Journalist: It is a question about the media from neighbouring countries, I mean the television, broadcasting programmes from Croatia and FRY and also the printing, publishing media. We all know that some parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina read mostly the Croatia press and the Serbia press. There is no Bosnian, real Bosnian newspapers or a printing media and also it’s the same for broadcasting networks. So will you have any jurisdiction on that, on the media from Croatia and FRY which are published here in Bosnia and which people read also?

John Watkinson: If the station or the press is actually published in this country then the commission will have jurisdiction. It is much more difficult, particularly with broadcasting, when the signal is being sent from a country outside the boundaries of Bosnia. And in those circumstances it is very difficult in the broadcasting sense, at least, to exercise control and such control would have to be brought about probably by diplomatic means, rather then by any regulatory means, because the power of the regulation of this country extends only so far as the boundaries of this country. But once there is a… if there is media which is emanating from other countries and they are actually established here, I’m talking here about particular broadcasters, then they will have to seek licensees and seek frequency before they can actually broadcast.

Simon Haselock: (Okay, can I just come in here as well) I mean there are two specific problems that you are referring to. I’m obviously talking about HRT and also about Belgrade television. Those… if they are broadcasting on terrestrial frequencies and transmitters within Bosnia, then they would be subject to regulation from within Bosnia. In other words, they cannot be granted frequencies or transmission sites in the country unless they conform to the regulatory procedures. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with a country broadcasting into another country: one, if it does it legally, two, if it’s doing it from outside. As you know, HRT for instance is up on a satellite. The concentration of satellite dishes particularly in the west of the country is very, very high and HRT will continue to broadcast on the satellite for which is perfectly entitled to do. As far as Belgrade television is concerned, that at the moment is broadcast terrestrially via an agreement with SRT, which grants the frequency and takes a payment for that. Clearly, it won’t be able to do that unless it conforms to the broadcasting standards that we expect, but again, they can broadcast either by satellite or by some other method which does not mean they have transmission sites on the ground here. As far as the distribution of the press is concerned, newspapers, etc. I mean, you know you can… you read the London Times here… there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to read something that comes from Zagreb or Belgrade.

Journalist: One more question is related with the people which will be members of that panel…

John Watkinson: The commission…

Journalist: Yes…

John Watkinson: Of the council of the commission… yes?

Journalist: Yes, you mention that there also be people from local… from Bosnia and Herzegovina nominated in the commission which will decide about punishments and so on…

John Watkinson …yes…

Journalist: I’m curious will you pick up the people from political life or professional journalist life in Bosnia.

John Watkinson: I think that I’d probably better let discussion go over to Simon. I mean, our intention is that they should be representatives of the communities who would by their background be perceived as being persons of standing and status who would be persons who could reach judgements about media issues. So, anybody… it would be helpful if somebody in that sort of position had some background in journalism, perhaps some legal background, perhaps some regulating background, but by no means would those sort of professional qualifications be a limitation. But what we want people to see is that people on the Council, who are men and women of standing, have made the judgement together, so that if a sanction has to be imposed, then it could be seen to have been imposed by persons who are reasonably acceptable to all the communities.

Simon Haselock: I mean… exactly… I didn’t need to answer the question… I mean, the whole principle of introducing a system like this, the whole principle of requiring the public service broadcast to adapt to public service standards of broadcasting, is predicated upon the removal of political influence, and therefore for instance the boards of SRT and the boards of RTV BiH should not be made up of people who are politically appointed and who hold political or elective office. The same principle should apply to this commission. These people should represent the people who have to read and watch and listen, rather than representing political parties themselves.

Journalist: Simon, I just want to confirm something you told me a long time ago when we spoke about this commission…

Simon Haselock: Oh, God, I hate this… (laughing)

Journalist: Just… Commission…

Simon Haselock: My words are going to come back and haunt me now…

Journalist: Commission regulation is going to be valid for all private and public media in BiH. I mean, are they all due to apply for licences?

John Watkinson: Yes. Not the press. NOT the press.

Simon Haselock: Yes. The press itself, newspapers and magazines etc. would not be licensed, but broadcasters, public and privately owned, will have to be licensed.

Journalist: This is a more or less technical matter. If media from neighbouring countries like HRT or Belgrade TV would like to continue with transmitting their programmes through the ground transmitters, are they formally obliged to apply for the licence from the commission?

Simon Haselock: Yes, they have to apply for licences and frequencies.

John Watkinson: The actual licence applicant, I think, would be the party which actually controls the transmitter, and that party would have to apply for a licence.

Simon Haselock: The owners of the transmitters and frequencies…

Journalist: Mr. Watkinson, you mentioned that there are three members of the commission. Beside you, there are two other journalists, are they foreigners or do you employ local journalists? You said that there are two other journalists in your commission, besides you.

John Watkinson: Oh, we are, we are not the commission, we are the experts, (chuckling), the commission will be the commission which regulates in this country, and we are advising on its creation. And the question was are there…?

Journalist: Are they foreigners or are they local journalists?

John Watkinson: They are international journalists, one worked for the BBC, and one worked for the Economist.

Simon Haselock: If I can just say, if I can take your question, I think I understand the thrust of it. Basically, John Watkinson and his team are a team of international experts who’ve come in to establish what is required and draw up the rules. They have consulted very, very much with local people, and this has been going on for…

John Watkinson: …for the last eight weeks.

Simon Haselock: …two months. Within these two months interim, there’s been a lot of consultation with local journalists, local media figures etc. The commission itself, however, will be largely made up of locals. The internationals in the commission will be there to provide technical expertise. From their experience of having done this in another countries. But the aim will be to withdraw the internationals relatively soon, as soon as possible, and hand over the responsibility to the commission, which is the statutory commission embodied in the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and run by Bosnians for Bosnia.

Journalist: My question was who are the other members of your experts’ team?

John Watkinson: You actually want to know the names? The names of the other members, of the journalistic members: John Ross Barnard and Robert Taylor.

Journalist: Could you, please, explain briefly the licensing procedure. What are they going to review, what the media have to present to you, how long does it take, how long would it take for a broadcaster to get the licence, what kind of things are you going to do actually, to take into consideration?

John Watkinson: Well, before the licence is granted, there will obviously have to be licensing procedures, which will involve making application for a licence. I said to you that the regime was going to be established in time for the elections. And there are, unusually, an unusually large number of broadcasters in this country. And therefore, we start from a position, I think you may take this as a position, that the existing broadcasters will probably be licensed as they presently are. The numbers would probably be very similar. Because at this time, with this sort of degree of short notice, it would not be appropriate for there to be a really intensive investigation, and that is not our purpose in any event. But, because you have to have licensing procedures, there will be application forms, in which broadcasters will be invited to apply for a licence. And in these licence applications they will have to tell us about, tell the commission that is, about the company of the persons which they are, the sort of programmes which they ‘re showing, the sort of programmes they envisage showing, how much broadcasting they are going to undertake. We are interested to know that they have a secure financial basis on which they may actually proceed. We are interested in whether they have the technical capacities necessary in order to secure delivery of programmes and also to deal with engineering aspects of broadcasting. And in this process, it would be our intention that the applications should be issued in the near future, and we would want and expect replies. No timetable has yet been formally accepted, but we would expect applications for licences to be returned within a month of invitation to apply for a licence, being delivered to broadcasters.

Journalist: And if the broadcaster is not given a licence to operate, what kind of measures do you have? I mean, for example HRT or Serbian television, broadcasters from Belgrade, if they are not given the licence, what kind of measures do you have to prevent them from broadcasting? Are you going to have SFOR’s support or are you going to close down transmitters?

John Watkinson: Well that’s a $64,000 question, isn’t it? (laugh) In all such regimes where we have a licensing regime, you have to make it a condition of lawful exercise of an activity that if a licence is necessary, then they have got to be licensed. If they are not licensed, then they are acting in breach of the regime, and they should no longer be able to carry on broadcasting activities. The process whereby this matter is dealt with will be a staged process, but at the end of the day, if the law of the land says that to broadcast you must be licensed, and the person is broadcasting who is not licensed, they’re fully in breach of the law and their activities should have to cease. All due representations would be made. But if you are saying at the end of the day you have got to, then the law enforcement agencies of this country would have to be used in order to protect the regulatory regime and to make that regime operate.

Simon Haselock: The system is actually more benign than you would imagine, in terms of the likelihood of people being able to co-operate with it. First of all, the commission is not imposed by the International Community. This commission has been established, will be established by agreement. The people who are to be making the judgements will essentially be local people, and the advice which comes from the internationals will be technical advice. The police forces of both entities will therefore be included, because the entities will be required, as having agreed to partake in the commission, to put their authority behind them. So police, certainly, initially, if it gets to that stage will be required to enforce these licensing regimes. But the bottom line is, if you get to a circumstance, like we got to in the middle of last year, where there is blatant propaganda manipulation and incitement of violence etc. and all other methods have failed, clearly, the MSAG still exists, and you know that MSAG is basically the instrument of article 70 of the Sintra Agreement, which implies the question, but that is regardless of whether the commission is there or not. The High Representative can use that authority anyway. What we are introducing is a system whereby there is a legal process, and the authorities of the country are required to engage in this process, rather then be replaced from outside.

Journalist: The question is when that commission will be established? And the next one is, will you ask some kind of a standard for those broadcasters, for example in this country we have so many TV stations broadcasting in different systems, the nice quality and the bad quality of the picture. So, will you, while you are issuing those licenses, will you ask them to have better standard quality of the picture? And of course, the question is when that commission will be established?

John Watkinson: Yes, I’ve not been a technical man, but we do have a technical man on our team. He can more properly answer that question than I could, but obviously it would be in the interest of the commission that the standard and reception of the pictures and reception generally should be of an equal standard across the country. Unless there are natural impediments. And, therefore, the commission technically would be interested in such matters, which are caused by interference, when people are using frequencies which they are not entitled to etc. But as to the overall quality within the country, it’s a pity that my colleague is not with us; he could answer this question more fully. But, I will certainly convey that question to him. In terms of when the commission is going to be set up, obviously that is a matter for the High Representative himself. But I think you can take it that the commission is going to be set up in the next few weeks.

Simon Haselock: If I can just, I mean, comment on the engineering side… My understanding in discussions with John’s team as well, is that, obviously, and also knowing the situation here, anyway, one of the problems of quality is because the spectrum isn’t properly managed. And the allocation of frequencies and technical standard of broadcasting is not properly managed. And so, therefore, by having a competent engineering department within the commission which looks for frequency allocation and technical criteria to be given a broadcasting standard and the broadcasting licence, I think you will then get a much more sensible framework for the management of frequencies and the quality of broadcasting from the technical point of view. Because, I presume, I would imagine that in any organisation like this it will also be advice available, in terms of technical advice, to provide to broadcasters when they apply for a licence, that’s what they need and how they should do it.

John Watkinson: There will be, I mean part of the application will involve technical submission of technical matters relating to the station, the frequencies which shall be broadcast and the system which it is actually using. And then it would be possible for the commission to make a judgement about whether that is viable within the context of the particular region in which the station wishes to operate.

Journalist: Is it correct that this commission will not be a part of OHR? It will be something like common institution, because I’ve got that information and international staff will be in the commission just temporarily until everything’s set up, until local people can continue to work.

John Watkinson: I think there are two parts that… Yes. I think dealing with the latter part of that question… it is not the intention that the commission would be temporary in the sense that it is going to disappear, I think…

Journalist: …I said what about the international people inside the commission?

John Watkinson: …Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It was fully the intention that this is a commission, which, within the short to medium term, and so far as it becomes apparent that, and no doubt advice would be taken from the various communities on this matter, that those who run it will be persons from Bosnia. What was the first part of the question again? Oh, I know, now, that is very important… no, it is not going to be a part of OHR. It’s going to be… it’s described as an interim independent. And, therefore, there’s no question, whatsoever of the Office of the High Representative ringing up the director general and saying: Look, we want you to take this line or that line… The director general will be independent and he will be subject only to accountability to the council of the commission. So, I do underline that it is and will be an independent body.

Simon Haselock: The quickest way to assure someone’s independence is to establish who pays them. And how the budget is managed. And the budget for the commission will be an independent budget. It’s been drawn up against a specific requirement and it will be for the commission to administer, which is why there is an administration and finance branch. So they will administer and finance themselves. It will initially obviously be international money which establishes this commission, and as it becomes a statutory common institution, it will be required to be funded by the Government, through subscription or some other such way, through tax-payers money… in a way that any other such body is funded…

John Watkinson: In order, actually, to enhance the independence of such bodies, usually the licence fees which will be paid by broadcasters will be utilised in part or in whole to finance this body in the future, and thus it will be that this independence will not be based upon having to go cup in hand to the government in order to get finance. Because then, he who pays the pipe calls the tune, and that needs to be avoided. It will certainly be our recommendation that this commission should in the future, when it is established, be financed by the licence fees of the licence holders.

Journalist: In this paper, the print media is almost completely dropped. Does it mean that a special body within the OSCE media development will be in charge for print media?

John Watkinson: Sorry, I didn’t get the first part…

Simon Haselock: He is asking whether…

Journalist: According to this paper, print media is completely dropped! Only one line in the third paragraph…

John Watkinson: No, I don’t think it’s fair to say, and I think I said it in my opening remarks, the print media is not dropped in this matter. And, so far as we’ve been able to ascertain the position here in Bosnia, we are much encouraged by the fact that there seems to be a wide range of media with vigorous views, and the wider, of course, that range of views which is being expressed, the easier it is for those who regulate in this sector to stand back. Because, views which are being put strongly in one area, are being counterbalanced by very strong views in other areas. So, I think I’d need to underline that at this stage the regulation of the press is still part of the commission’s responsibility.

Simon Haselock: I mean, there will be… there will continue to be a relationship between the IMSLC and the MEC in the run up to the election, in terms that MAC will be dealing with certain issues of the MEC rules. But the fact remains that this commission will have a press code, and that press code will be the code by which the press will be expected to operate. But as you know yourself, I mean, there is not a tradition in any country of licensing newspapers. Basically, the tradition in most countries for the regulation of the printed press is a self-regulatory complaints commission. And what we have to do is to draw a balance between a very firm requirement to licence broadcasters, both radio and television, and a system which would make sure that it behaves responsibly, but isn’t tied by some form of statutory strap, which is normally not the case.

Journalist: (fade in) …situation in country. They’re still spitting hatred.

John Watkinson: Yes, indeed…

Journalist: Especially recent…

Simon Haselock: But, there will be a press code….

John Watkinson: There is a press code in draft, yes.

Journalist: I’m still confused about something, I mean, if it’s an independent body, if it’s not in the budget or anything, what will be its executive power. I mean, how will the commission prevent those broadcasters who did not get a licence to broadcast?

John Watkinson: Well the basis for it is this: In order for an independent regulatory body to act, it is necessary for its powers to carry out any such action to be granted to it by a law of the land. And in this particular case, the legal basis or framework is provided by the decision, made by Carlos Westendorp pursuant to PIC Bonn, so that’s the fundamental basis. Having created it, the Government then stands back, but its position is its powers are set out in this enabling decision. And that’s the basis on which you can then move, because it relies upon that authority which has been created in law, and which lawfully allows it to exercise certain powers, such as imposing fines, such as suspending licences, terminating licences, and exercising the ultimate sanction of close down. So that’s where its authority ultimately stems from. It can’t exist in a limbo. And authority in this area has got to be, therefore, based on the fundamental law. Now, I would like to underline one point, here, that it is stressed in the Bonn declaration that this is an interim measure, and that it is the full intention, this has been made clear to us, that this regulatory body will be integrated into the laws of this land as opposed to being forever based on the decision of the Office of the High Representative. But at the present time, there is no media law, a comprehensive media law. But part of our task at the end will be to bring to the attention of OHR the requirements which will be necessary to enact such a law. But I am fully aware of the difficulties, we are fully aware of the difficulties, in enacting law in this country. Therefore, in order to proceed, we have to do so this time by way of the decision of the High Representative.

Simon Haselock: Basically, its authority is established in Dayton, in Bonn and the laws have been underwritten by the Provisional Elections Commission. During that time, as soon as it is set-up, it will be working to embody – to have the proper law that basically governs the broadcasting of the media properly. But it will be independent in the sense that, you know, to enact the law, I mean it’s area of police force is not necessarily, is not an organ of government. You know, police force is not the government police force in a civilised society. It’s an independent police force, which deals with the law, I mean, it’s paid for by taxpayers to actually represent the people, not to represent the government. And this is the same sort of thing with this commission. Is it a Bosnian common institution, which will represent the interests of the Bosnians who watch the television and read the press.

Journalist: Do you have the number of broadcasters for the whole of Bosnia, radio stations, TV stations?

Simon Haselock: (Laugh) …God…

John Watkinson: Do we have the register, did you say?

Journalist: So far, have you got any numbers, have you studied through it?

Simon Haselock: They don’t have the register of them all yet, no. We have a register of some, but I would not be as arrogant as to suggest we have a comprehensive, full register…

John Watkinson: In due course, you see, the register would be, the definitive register would be licensed operators. You will then know who are those broadcasters who are lawfully entitled to broadcast.

Journalist: Well, in that case, I would like to know how many would be left out, after the final number of those licensed?

Simon Haselock: I think, I think that John has already said that he can’t tell you that. I mean he thinks that… what we think is that those people who are licensed to broadcast at the moment, given the regime, will certainly, initially be given a licence.

John Watkinson: Our approach is inclusive, not exclusive.

Simon Haselock: But, once you were given a licence, the commission’s authority then does not back away, because the commission will then continue to monitor the performance of those broadcasters against the standards laid down in their licence.

Journalist: How many people will work on the monitoring of all these broadcasters, because, probably most of them will broadcast 24 hour programmes, so how many people will you have who will monitor the programme of all these TV and radio stations?

John Watkinson: Well that’s a very good question. And I think that we have, we are in the process of taking a policy decision in this particular area. You obviously can’t monitor everything which is being broadcast all over Bosnia, so it has to be by a sampled process, but the way in which these samples are taken, and the stations which are actually sampled, will be a matter which will be determined in due course. But at this particular stage we are very much at the top level, getting the institution with departmental structures in line, but the issue of how the sampling will take place is a live issue with us, and will be of the immediate concern to the commission once it is established.

Simon Haselock: I mean, the simple answer is that you don’t necessarily have to watch everybody 24 hours a day, there are various indications that you will come to know, whether somebody is broadcasting illegally, and then you will concentrate on those people. I mean, if you know somebody is robbing houses, you don’t go and watch everybody to make sure they are not robbing houses, you have to focus down on the investigation, and then look very carefully, very closely.

John Watkinson: I think, Simon, you can say, that obviously the commission will be very interested indeed and will want to monitor closely what is going out on the news programmes and the current affairs programmes. You can also assume we will not be monitoring Walt Disney programmes.

Simon Haselock: Why not? (laugh)

Journalist: Mr. Watkinson, you did not mention the news agencies here in Bosnia. Will they be requested to get the licence too, or…?

John Watkinson: If they’re broadcasters, yes, but I don’t think that…. Are you an international agency?

Journalist: No, I’m from the local, from the Serbian (?) press agency….

Simon Haselock: He’s a press agency….

John Watkinson: A press? You won’t be licensed at all. I thought you were going to raise the issue of international press operators who come in, who actually require a special regulatory regime, so that they can… (end of tape)

A remark – The transcript is fully brought word-to-word, including mispronunciations of journalists, and background speech.