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DIGITALISATION

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The Independent Media Commission (IMC) in December 19, 2012 has handed the Draft Strategy for “TRANSITION FROM ANALOGUE TO DIGITAL BROADCASTING IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOSOVA” over to the Government of the Republic of Kosova.

In the Draft Strategy, the IMC has offered proposals that reinforce, above all, the maximum interest of Kosova as well as the interest of media industry stakeholders and development of media pluralism.

Proposals made in the Draft Strategy draw from the basic instructions of the European Commission related to the respect of freedom of speech, regulation of competition and creation of a sound media market.

The Draft Strategy also pays a special attention to boosting professionalism and quantity and quality of programs, which will be beneficial to all the citizens of the Republic of Kosova.
In preparing the Draft Strategy, we were impaired by the fact that the Republic of Kosova is not a member of the ITU. Kosova has not participated in the GE-06 International Conference on the digital broadcast frequency plan, due to its political status. For that reason, the IMC has developed a plan – alternative to the one determined at the GE-06 – which meets all the needs for the operation of audiovisual media services and which, at the same time, allows for a territorial coverage of up to 95%. This is how we consider citizens of Kosova will have access to information.

A key role in developing the Draft Strategy was played by local and international experts, representatives of broadcast media, representatives of civil society, representatives of University of Prishtina, Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosova, Republic of Kosova’s respective ministries as well as representatives of communities living in Kosova.
 
Of a special importance to the successful finalisation of the Draft were, unquestionably, study visits to the region and countries of European Union carried out by the IMC, which have served to analyse and compare practical solutions for successful digital broadcasting employed in those countries.

The Digital Broadcasting Draft Strategy provides more adequate solutions for the development of the media sector in the Republic of Kosova while providing quality audiovisual media services to its citizens and by keeping up with the latest technological developments in the field.

In addition, the Draft Strategy also provides prospects for the current licensees, who will be able to accomplish their objective of being as professional and competitive as possible, because, according to the program standards set forth in the Draft, they will have a broader leeway and scope Republic of Kosova’s media market and beyond.

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IMC WORK ON DIGITALIZING

According to the Law no. 04/L-44, article 3, section 1.1, IMC has the mandate to draft a strategy for the transfer to the digital broadcasting in the Republic of Kosovo, as well as other strategic documents for audiovisual media services.

At the Geneva conference 2006 (GE-06) 17 June 2015 was set as the deadline for the transition to digital platform (this is the last moment for Kosovo), while EU countries transition is scheduled to take place in 2012.

The first action to develop a strategy for Digitalization, IMC launched in July 2008 with the organization of a workshop with experts for digitalization. The purpose of the meeting was to identify the first steps that Kosovo should take to start the process of digitalization. In this meeting IMC created the idea of ​​drafting a plan that best suits the needs and conditions of Kosovo. From this meeting IMC prepared a "Report from the meeting on the Strategies for re-licensing and digitalization".

On 19 December 2008 IMC organized a Roundtable on "Kosovo and the Future of Digital Broadcasting". In this roundtable were presented the challenges that the countries of the region have faced and challenges of the European Union during the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, as well as the need to develop a strategy that would determine Kosovo as part of the digital broadcasting family and as a member of the International Broadcasting Union (ITU). There, the Independent Media Commission introduced digital frequency plan defined by the ITU for the terrestrial digital broadcasting along with the results of a study on: "Studying the Policies and Strategies for Digital Broadcasting Development in countries of the region and the European Union".

During 2009 IMC analyzed the digital terrestrial television frequency plan that resulted from the ITU Conference (RRC-06) and prepared a project to precede the process of transition to digital television broadcasting technology – Alternative Techniques for digital frequency plan of Kosovo under ITU standards. This project was presented at the first international conference on "The introduction of digital broadcasting in Kosovo and the Region - Strategies" held in Prishtina from 3-5 December 2009.

At the conference were discussed the needs for the creation of two coordination mechanisms:

  • An internal, which should be between stakeholders in Kosovo, and
  • Another regional coordination mechanism, which could be initiated perhaps on Kosovo proposal, and which would involve the competent authorities of the countries of the region, which may be affected by the consequences of improper coordination.

Internal coordination mechanism should precede any regional mechanism.

All parties participating in the conference expressed their goodwill to participate in such coordination process. Participants also stressed the need for the inclusion of Kosovo in the process of frequency planning by the International Telecommunication Union, which would be in the interest of Kosovo and the ITU (ITU) to also regulate broadcasting space of our country.

In order to design a proper strategy for the digitalization process, the Council of the Independent Media Commission in 2009, through the Decision Ref: 0901/0045/EXD/dd, has established 5 working groups to draft the strategy for the following issues:

  • Issues of program content,
  • Technical issues,
  • Legal Issues,
  • Socio-economic issues and
  • Information and awareness.

Working groups are represented by all relevant Kosovo institutions, media and civil society.

Lately the Independent Media Commission on 28 and 29 June 2012 has organized another international conference about the process of digitalization. At this conference IMC brought in Prishtina international experts and representatives of the regulatory authorities of UK, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania and Turkey.

The purpose of this conference was, that at this stage when the IMC is working on finalizing the strategy for digitalization in Kosovo, to given an opportunity to all stakeholders to better understand the process that they will go through based on the experiences of neighbouring countries and EU.


 
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