Serbia’s state RTS stops airing independent “TV Mreza” without explanation


BELGRADE, 01.10.2019. – Vladimir Milic, the director of the independent production group “TV Mreza (TV Network), told N1on Monday that the state broadcaster stopped airing the Group’s “Magazine” programme without “any explanation,” after 19 years of cooperation which had been renewed annually in a legal procedure.

The move came amid criticism from Serbia’s opposition and foreign media associations and organisations which all said the authorities had direct of indirect control over the vast majority of the media in Serbia, including all TVs with national frequency.

“TV Mreza” said in a statement to N1 that the broadcasting of independent productions was introduced on the state TV to enrich the programmes, ideas, views and information.

“That’s why it is odd that amid a huge debate about the media role in the election campaign RTS decided to remove the programme which nourishes professionalism and affirms the democratic institutions and human rights,” the statement said.

It added that they “believe this hastily and the politically motivated decision can be corrected. Until then, see you on our website  or at some other place.”

General elections in Serbia are due next spring.

The founders of the “Mreza TV” Production Group were former journalists and editors of the once independent Belgrade Studio B radio and television station.

Among them is Olja Beckovic, whose “The Impression of the Week” political talk show is now broadcast on Nova S which is along with the N1 TV a member of the United Media, a part of the United Group.

Those who left or were fired from the station founded the Group in November 1997, after the then leader of the  Democratic Party President Zoran Djindjic was ousted as the Mayor.

He later became Serbia’s Prime Minister but was assassinated after only 15 months in the office.