Ministry denies draft media laws changed overnight

Source/Author: N1

The Serbian Information and Telecommunications Ministry on Wednesday denied reports that articles “were mysteriously added overnight” to two draft media laws which the government is set to adopt.

“The agreement reached at a meeting between the Serbian government, journalist associations and partners from the international community did not stop the avalanche of misinformation that continues to come from part of the media,” the press release said and added that on the news on Nova S, N1 TV and in Wednesday’s issue of Nova daily “we could hear and read that articles of the laws were mysteriously added overnight and that the new media laws are racketeering of the free media and similar,” the press release said. It added that the draft laws are the result of public debates.

“Everything published by those media in the past days about articles 112 and 122 is absolutely untrue and everything that those media continue to publish is absolutely untrue,” it said.

The ministry denied that a proposal was made to have the electronic media watchdog REM set the fees for redistribution, saying that the way cable operators work is defined under the law on electronic communications with jurisdiction falling to the RATEL agency. “That fact alone shows that the people commenting the two new laws are not even familiar with their content,” it said.

“Those media are claiming that the meeting and final agreement on the draft laws are the product of their pressure and lies even though the meeting was called by the prime mnister a week earlier,” it added.

The ministry press release comes five days after reports that the two draft media laws were amended drastically. It also did not explain why the new parts of one of the articles were added after the public debate or at whose suggestion. Members of the Working Group that drafted the two laws said that no proposals of the kind written into the draft law were made during the public debate.