weCAN Digest May 2019

Media monitoring of the latest news about the media and advertising markets of Central and Eastern Europe

Levira and Estonia target post-Brexit broadcaster market again
Estonia based digital services provider Levira is involved in a further drive to promote the country as a new home for UK-based broadcasters in the post-Brexit era.
May 2

Czech Republic introduces digital tax on internet giants
The Czech government is introducing a seven per cent digital tax on large internet companies, such as Facebook and Google. According to the ministry of finance, the tax could add an additional five billion crowns (200 million euros) a year to the state budget.
May 2

Kuciak gets the national journalism award
The last, unfinished story by the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak is the best investigative story that appeared in the Slovak media in 2018. Head of the investigative news desk at the Aktuality.sk news website where Kuciak worked, Marek Vagovič, received the award on his behalf.
May 3

Hungary’s OTP Bank signs deal to buy Slovenia’s SKB Banks
Hungary’s OTP Bank said on May 3 it has signed an acquisition agreement on purchasing a 99.73% shareholding of SKB Banka, the Slovenian subsidiary of Societe Generale Group, and other local subsidiaries held by SKB Banka.
May 5

London media agency carries Viktor Orbán’s nativist message
Domestically, Orbán has built his political platform on opposing migration to Europe, a message carried by a stable of government-friendly media outlets. The establishment of V4NA appears to have two goals: to provide international content for these domestic outlets, and also to amplify Orbán’s nativist message outside Hungary.
May 5

Latvia’s decision to suspend broadcast of the Russian language channel “Rossiya RTR” complies with EU law
The European Commission decided, on 3 May 2019, that the Latvian regulator’s decision to suspend for three months the retransmission of a Russian language channel “Rossiya RTR”, due to incitement to hatred, is compatible with EU law. The decision has been notified today to the Member States.
May 6

Assassination attempt on journalist reported in Cherkasy
Unknown attackers on May 4 staged an assassination attempt on Cherkasy-based journalist Vadym Komarov in Cherkasy, a city of 277,944 people located 188 kilometers southeast of Kyiv. The National Police initially opened an investigation into battery that led to heavy injuries but re-qualified the case as “murder attempt” on May 6.
May 6

Freedom of Speech in Bulgaria is Declining, Says a New Media Report
Freedom of speech in Bulgaria in 2018 has diminished, and this reflects the overall weakness of the rule of law and, among a number of other factors, the fact that laws are applied selectively and there are people with political protection against persecution.
May 8

Vladimir Putin trying to ring-fence Russian web with “sovereign internet” law, but it could backfire
President Vladimir Putin signed a bill last week aimed at creating a “sovereign internet” in Russia. The legislation, which the government says is meant to protect the country’s cyberspace from attacks by hostile powers, outlines new government controls over all internet traffic in Russia.
May 8

Hungary: almost 78% of the media are pro-government
The European Federation of Journalists has expressed concerns over the state of media freedom and independence in Hungary following the publication of a study showing that the majority of media in the country are pro-government.
May 9

Media Agencies – Beginning, structure, benefits and challenges in TV commercial advertising in the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Roman agencies (Latin: agentarium) were first attempts of professionally paid corresponding role in business activities. In this text, we shall deal with commercial/media agencies as mediators in the big business of TV commercial advertising. We are interested in their beginning, structure, role, and significance they have in this growing commercial advertising market.
May 10

Executives leave Bulgaria’s Nova
Bulgaria’s Nova Broadcasting Group, which has been under new ownership for less than a month, has begun to release some of its executives.
May 10

Exclusive: Philip Morris suspends social media campaign after Reuters exposes young ‘influencers’
Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc has suspended a global social media marketing campaign in response to Reuters inquiries into the company’s use of young online personalities to sell its new “heated tobacco” device, including a 21-year-old woman in Russia.
May 11

President: Freedom of speech not shrunk in Estonia in past few months
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid at the general meeting of the European Federation of Journalists on Friday highlighted the importance of free speech and noted that in her opinion, neither freedom of speech nor that of the press have decreased in Estonia over the past months.
May 12

Study: Facebook, Google command 40 pct of online ad market in Estonia
The share of Facebook and Google in Estonia’s online advertising market in 2018 was 40 percent, or 13 million euros, it appears from a study carried out by pollster Kantar Emor. The total volume of Estonia’s internet advertising market was 20.24 million euros last year, having only grown 0.5 percent on year, which means that Facebook and Google bested all local media companies in terms of online advertising revenue.
May 13

IAA Romania opens its first regional hub in Cluj
The business community of Cluj will have this month a new association dedicated to companies and specialists in marketing and communication industry (MarComm), advertising agencies or mass-media, but also to students.
May 14

Serb party billboards vandalized with hate messages in Croatia
Ahead of the EU elections, placards put up by a Serb minority party in Croatia have been defaced with hate messages in several cities. Croatia, an EU member, struggles with nationalism and strong anti-Serb sentiment.
May 15

Hungary blasts Facebook for ‘censorship’ of pro-government media group
Hungary’s government on Thursday accused Facebook of “censorship” of a pro-government media group after it complained its advertising accounts with the social media giant had been closed down.
May 16

Sofia court cancels 7.6 mln euro fine on Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria
A Sofia court said it has canceled a 14.9 million levs ($8.57 million/7.6 million euro) fine imposed by the country’s anti-trust body on retailer Metro Cash&Carry Bulgaria for illegal comparative advertising.
May 17

Why are Russians angry about a delivery service ad?
Delivery Club, one of Russia’s biggest food delivery services, made a social ad showing the personalities of its couriers – but many people were enraged. “Your order will be delivered by a literature teacher,” states one of the ads, showing Abdisattar, a middle-aged man with Central Asian looks.
May 17

#hatebetter in Context
Visitors and residents of Ljubljana have recently been able to experience a billboard sized poster in several locations around town that demand a second look, if not a third or fourth.
May 18

Hungary: the crucible for faulty efforts by Facebook to banish fake news
The denunciation filled the front page of one of Hungary’s main newspapers. “Facebook has become a political actor,” declared the pro-government Magyar Nemzet, the latest attack in an escalating campaign against the social media giant.
May 18

Facebook closes fake news pages in Poland: rights group
Facebook has closed 27 pages in Poland for spreading fake news and hate-filled content ahead of the European parliamentary elections, the civil rights group Avaaz said on Friday.
May 18

Latvian public broadcaster also facing uncertain future
Public broadcaster ERR is not alone in having been the subject of recent political attacks. Latvia’s public broadcaster, LSM, remains in a state of uncertainty as well, according to a broadcast on ETV current affairs show “Aktuaalne kaamera.”
May 20

Is Russia trying to sway the European elections?
EU officials say Russia is using disinformation to influence the outcome of this week’s European Parliament elections. How seriously should their warnings be taken? “Winter isn’t the only thing that’s coming – so is the risk of interference in our elections,” said Sir Julian King, the EU’s commissioner for security, in a press conference late last year.
May 20

Russian reporters resign en masse in row over Putin ally report
A senior editor and 10 journalists at Russian daily newspaper Kommersant said on Monday they were resigning to protest against the firing of two colleagues over an article about a possible reshuffle of President Vladimir Putin’s close allies.
May 20

A teenage Instagrammer is being criticized for smashing the nose off a 200-year-old Polish statue for a video
Instagram user @advvx posted a video on her story which showed fellow Instagrammer Julia Slonska, presumed to be a friend, repeatedly hitting the nose of the statue with a hammer until it falls off.
May 20

Thousands of Czechs protest for fourth week against justice minister
Thousands of Czechs protested for a fourth week in a row on Tuesday against a justice minister they fear could influence a criminal case against Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
May 21

Estonia: Raimond Kaljulaid spending most on Facebook advertising for Europarlt elections
According to Facebook, Estonian MP Raimond Kaljulaid, who is running for the European Parliament as an individual candidate, is spending more money on advertising alone than the political parties Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in total, the daily Postimees reports.
May 22

The Fourth Estate, Oligarch Style: Key Facts About Ukrainian Media
Internews Ukraine experts have prepared a comprehensive overview of Ukrainian media sphere (https://medialandscapes.org/country/ukraine) for the Media Landscapes project launched by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). We have selected ten key facts from the research.
May 22

Media: Deutsche Telekom considers exit from Romania
German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom considers selling its operations in Romania, sources in the telecom market told local G4media.ro. The move is allegedly part of the company’s plan to exit the markets it entered after acquiring Greek company OTE.
May 22

Russia’s advertising market slows to 4% growth in 1Q19
Advertising spending in Russia in 1Q19 stood at RUB111bn ($1.7bn), the growth of the ad market slowing down to 4% from 13% for the same quarter of 2018, Kommersant daily reported citing the data of Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (AKAR) on May 21.
May 22

In Bulgaria, Pro-Russia Party’s Violent TV Ad Takes Aim At Politicians, Media
A pro-Russian party in Bulgaria, just days ahead of European Parliamentary elections, has published a video featuring a scene from a 2005 TV series in which a man is seen shooting at dozens of people sitting inside a legislative chamber.
May 22

No time to chicken out: Hungary’s opposition gets creative
Selling yourself in five minutes can be tough. But that’s all Hungary’s opposition parties have been given on state media to promote their visions for Sunday’s European Parliament election. Undeterred, they’ve come up with novel and creative ways.
May 22

Romanian Police Academy head dismissed amid journalist blackmail scandal
Romania’s Interior Ministry decided on Friday, May 24, to dismiss the rector of the Police Academy, Adrian Iacob, and pro-rector Mihail Marcoci after the two officers were placed under judicial control in a criminal case related to death threats received by local journalist Emilia Sercan, according to Mediafax.
May 24

Russian watchdog finds Google guilty of casino advertising
The Moscow directorate of Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) revealed on Thursday that it has found Google guilty of advertising a gambling company in Google AdWords. The watchdog released a statement in which it explains how the ad violated current regulations, Rapsi informed.
May 24

Poland files complaint with EU’s top court over copyright rule change
Poland has submitted a complaint to the European Union’s top court against copyright rules adopted by the bloc in April to protect Europe’s creative industries, which Warsaw says may result in preventive censorship.
May 24

Lithuania’s Nauseda wins presidential election
Former central banker Gitanas Nauseda won Lithuania’s presidential election on Sunday after opponent Ingrida Simonyte conceded. Nauseda, 55, had 72 percent of the vote, according to election authority results after 42 percent of the ballots were counted. Simonyte, 44, a former finance minister in a center-right government, stood at 28 percent.
May 26

A Czech Billionaire Buys a Piece of Le Monde
Blaise Gauquelin, the Central Europe correspondent for Le Monde, called his editor at the paper’s Paris headquarters one day last fall to pass along something of interest: One of the two French businessmen who controlled the 75-year-old daily was selling part of his stake to a Czech billionaire named Daniel Kretinsky.
May 26

Bulgaria’s 2019 European Parliament elections: Websites fined over exit polls
Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission fined three websites on European Parliament election day, May 26, for publishing exit polls during voting hours in violation of the Electoral Act.
May 26

Conference Held on Restrictions to Media Freedom and Regulating Hate Speech
Participants in a conference on relations in the media and judiciary and restrictions on freedom of speech and hate speech in Zagreb on Monday concluded that media freedom must not be jeopardised but that it has to have some restrictions and must not include hate speech.
May 27

Hospitals in Lithuania will target ads at people in the UK to offer them cheap surgery as millions are left in limbo on the NHS’s longest ever waiting list
Hospitals in Lithuania are to start advertising cheap operations to patients in the UK because of a surge in demand on the back of the NHS crisis. Health Tourism Lithuania claims it has been inundated with enquiries from Britons frustrated at having to wait months for routine treatment. The body has now revealed that, from next month, it will target patients across the home nations with Facebook and Google adverts.
May 27

Croatian journalist Danijel Majić attacked by extreme right-wing TV presenter in Austria
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) in condemning the physical and verbal attacks on the German newspaper The Frankfurter Rundschau journalist Danijel Majić on 18 May 2019 at the Bleiburg memorial in Austria.
May 27

4 Russian Journalists Stabbed Over Refusal to Publish Stalin Article – Reports
At least four journalists in the southern Russian city of Stavropol have been stabbed and wounded, regional authorities and media reports said on Monday. The attack took place in the editorial office of the Russian Communist Party’s Rodina newspaper, the governor of Stavropol region said. The unnamed assailant was taken into custody, he added.
May 27

Lithuania Expels Chief Editor Of Sputnik’s Local Branch
The chief editor of Sputnik’s Lithuanian branch has been kicked out of the Baltic nation amid growing concerns in the West over Russian state media influence. Marat Kasem was stopped by Lithuanian border guards after landing at Vilnius airport from Moscow on May 28 and later deported to Latvia, the state-run Sputnik news agency said on its website.
May 28

Latvian parliament elects former judge Levits president
Latvia’s parliament elected former European Court of Justice judge Egils Levits as the Baltic country’s next president on Wednesday, a largely ceremonial role that also brings with it limited political powers.
May 29

Serbian Journalist’s Car Damaged in Kosovo Police Operation
Serbian journalist Zoran Maksimovic said his car was badly damaged by Kosovo police vehicles while he was covering a crackdown on organised crime suspects in the Serb-majority north of the country.
May 29

Serbia: Media Regulator’s Wrongdoings Exposed
Serbian Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM) exerts influence on the media by espousing some and thus creates inequality in the media market, largely sheltered by its political dependence on the ruling party, the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) finds.
May 29

Bulgarian mogul Peevski quits European Parliament seat
Bulgarian media mogul and politician Delyan Peevski will not be taking up his seat in the European parliament, he has announced – the second time he has won an EP seat only to abandon it.
May 29

Social-Media Users Come ‘Out Of The Woods’ To Further Serbia-Kosovo Dispute
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic’s use of a derogatory phrase to describe Kosovo’s leadership has not only ignited a diplomatic row in the Balkans; it has set social media ablaze as well.
May 31

Poland’s Government Is Systematically Silencing Opposition Voices
In the modern, bright Warsaw building where Poland’s leading newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, has its newsroom, there is an office like no other. It belongs to the paper’s founding editor, Adam Michnik, the historian and dissident who battled the communist regime.
May 31

Bulgaria’s FSC asks Web Media Group for more info on cap hike prospectus
Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission said that it has asked local Web Media Group [BUL:45W] to provide further information and documents regarding its request for approval of a capital increase prospectus. The FSC did not provide further details in its statement, published on Thursday.
May 31

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