European Commission: Media in Serbia under constant pressure from the authorities

Source/Author: Beta/NUNS
Source/Photo: Photo: Beta

BELGRADE, 24.10.2017. – In its report for European Commission, the expert mission for the protection of journalists in the Criminal Code (TAIEX), states that the Serbian media is under constant pressure from the authorities.

“Because of the government’s control over televisions and radio stations, online media are becoming very important sources of news, but the problem is that those media are under constant pressure from the government and local authorities,” a report in which Beta agency had an insight, concludes.

“Sources of independent and impartial information are scarce and it is difficult for them to stand out in an extremely fragmented media market”, the report states.

TAIEX also quoted data obtained from the journalists’ associations from Serbia that continue to record physical attacks and verbal threats against journalists.

“Many cases of obstruction of journalistic work, such as denied access to press conferences, denied access to information of public importance, hiding information on public activities of local politicians were recorded”, the report said.

It is also states that journalists’ associations expressed concern about the lack of functionality of the mechanism of co-operation established between journalists’ associations, the prosecutor’s office and the police, highlighting the fact that numerous threats and physical attacks on journalists have not been resolved.

TAIEX has recommended to the Ministry of Culture and Information to organize projects and campaigns at the national level in order to raise public awareness on the importance of media freedom, media pluralism and safe working conditions for journalists.

The report also states that the media market in Serbia is probably the most fragmented in Europe considering the number of country’s inhabitants. At the end of 2016 1,788 media were registered in Serbia.

“Due to large number of media and the economic crisis, as well as the total advertising budget of 160 million euros, majority of media are not self-sustaining,” the report said.

It is also stated that “the additional problem is the fact that out of 191 calls for the co-financing of media projects of public interest, in 132 some kind of irregularities were identified”.