IJAS: City Administration of Novi Pazar to Stop Practice of Unfairly Distributing Funds Intended for Media

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Source/Author: IJAS

The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) appeals to the members of the commission in charge of evaluating project proposals for co-financing media content in Novi Pazar to distribute funds proportionately, in a fair manner, respecting legal rules and enabling media pluralism. Also, we call on the authorities from the City Administration of Novi Pazar not to put pressure on the members of the commission and to enable the conditions provided by law for the work of independent commissions.

Years back, Television Novi Pazar in that city received disproportionately high sums of money through media contests compared to other media participating in the contest. Namely, every year more than 80 percent of the funds earmarked for the media goes to this television.

This practice not only threatens media pluralism and the diversity of voices in the public space, but also calls into question the very purpose of project co-financing, which should be aimed at encouraging quality journalism and a wide range of media content.

The city of Novi Pazar was one of the first this year to announce a competition for co-financing of media content production projects, and it is expected that it will be among the first to decide on the distribution of planned funds for that purpose in the amount of 39 million dinars (almost 333.000 euros). Since the maximum amount that can be received by one project is limited to 32.5 million dinars, it is expected that this year, too, that amount or an approximate amount will be received by Television Novi Pazar.

We call on the authorities in the City Administration in Novi Pazar to stop the practice of uneven and unfair distribution of funds and to put professional reporting and public interest first when distributing funds.