RTS incident is a result of dangerous tension in the society, the government bears most responsibility

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BELGRADE, 17.03.2019. – The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina warn the public that latest incidents at the public media service Serbian Radio Television (RTS) building are the result of  years long spread of hate speech, hindering of media freedom, creation of an atmosphere of lynch and the abolition of public dialogue. The actor most responsible for this is the current regime headed by the Serbian Progressive Party.

We call upon all state institutions to take this alarming event most seriously and to finally establish the rule of law in Serbia. The society is on the verge of tension that, if it escalates, could have perilous consequences.

We recall countless occasions when we warned against the fatal tabloidization of the media scene which contaminated the public space with violence. We also warned the public media service to stop with submission of journalistic profession to the powerful individuals in the government and with violations of the laws that require of it to report professionally, objectively and independently in accordance with the public interest.

The violent entry into the RTS premises is not appropriate for democratic and civilized societies. Once again, we warn the state institutions to act in accordance with the law and prevent such incidents, instead of using the state power to apply violence against citizens who protest because their basic human rights are being violated.

We consider the statement of Dragan Bujosevic, RTS CEO cynical. For months Bujosevic had been deaf regarding citizens’ demands and violated the public media legal obligations by re-shaping its editorial policy to meet the interests of the ruling regime. Bujosevic should have stood up and defended the editorial independence of the RTS. The public media responsibility in creating social tensions is unquestionable precisely because of this servile attitude towards the authorities and acting against public interest.

We call upon all journalists and other media workers at the RTS and the provincial public service station to stand against the violation of professional and ethical standards of journalism and public interest and to oppose the pressure of government and other centres of power that turned the PSM into a propaganda platform of the government.

Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia

Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina

Belgrade-Novi Sad, March 17, 2019