- 07-00-00456/2017-02 date: 28 February 2018
This Opinion was issued in the procedure regarding the complaint lodged by U.R.i.C against G.B. – Secretariat for Information, due to discrimination based on sexual orientation. The complaint states, inter alia, that G.B. – Secretariat for Information implemented a Call for co-financing the production of media content in the field of public information across the territory of G.B. in 2017, adopting the Decision on the allocation of funds that did not support the “Increasing the visibility of LGBT culture” project submitted by the complainant. The rationale for the decision states that the “project does not achieve the broader significance of informing the population of the territory of G.B., therefore failing to achieve the purpose of the call.” According to the opinion of the complainant, seeking “broader significance of informing the population of the territory of G.B.” from minority media and a project intended for a minority group represents a violation of rights and discrimination of the LGBT population based on sexual orientation. The statement and supplement to the statement by G.B. – Secretariat for Information, inter alia, states that the assessment of projects takes into consideration all criteria prescribed by the call, the level of development of the project, its goal, purpose and target groups, and that each project is analysed as a whole. The participants in the call who received funds to co-finance projects are achieving the purpose of the call by meeting all criteria, as well as through the harmonization of project activities with the goal and budget of the project. The statement also notes that the assessment of whether a project contributed to improving information and the equality of a certain social group is provided upon the completion of the project. The statement by G.B. notes that during earlier years they co-financed projects by various associations working to protect the rights of the LGBT population. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality first states that the procedure analysed only the claims from the complaint and statements relevant for establishing discrimination. Claims regarding potential omissions in the procedures or actions that fall under the competence of other state bodies have not been taken into consideration. During the procedure it was established that G.B. issued a call for co-financing the production of media content, and that the call prescribed the criteria to be met by all projects, including the measure where the proposed project activity complies with achieving public interest in the area of public information and the measure of providing greater guarantee to adherence to professional and ethical media standards. The procedure established that G.B., as a local self-government unit, has the right to allocate funds from its budget for co-financing projects in the field of public information and may, in addition to the criteria prescribed by the Law on Public Information and Media, as well as the Rulebook on co-financing projects for achieving public interest in the field of public information, prescribe additional criteria for assessing projects with the aim of achieving the purpose of the call. Likewise, an analysis of the criteria set for the calls in 2016 and 2017 established that the prescribed criteria for project assessment were identical for both years. The fact that the complainant failed to receive funds through the call cannot lead to the conclusion that this was in relation to the sexual orientation of LGBT persons whose rights are advocated by this organization, particularly having in mind that G.B. co-financed projects by LGBT organizations during previous years, including a project by the complainant. Therefore it may be stated that the criteria set for the call issued in 2017 cannot be considered an obstacle for co-financing the project by the complainant. Having in mind all of the above, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality issued the opinion that the City of Belgrade – Secretariat for Information did not violate the provisions of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination by issuing and implementing the public call for co-financing projects for the production of media content in the field of public information in 2017.
|COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY