United Media will not broadcast political advertising in its media, out of protest

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Source/Author: N1

United Media informs the public that it has passed a decision under which the media outlets operating within United Media will not broadcast or publish political advertising during the coming election campaign in Serbia.

In the election campaign in Serbia all media outlets within United Media will report, as they have so far, professionally and upholding the highest standards of journalism. They will remain committed to presenting diverse opinions, to the culture of dialogue and to providing all sides participating in the elections with the opportunity to present their platform and views.

The decision against broadcasting political advertising is a form of protest by United Media against the overall situation on the Serbian media scene and threats against our journalists and editors who are targeted, on a daily basis, by the ruling coalition officials and pro-regime media. The media operated by United Media do not wish to broadcast election campaign advertisements of the ruling options’ representatives in Serbia. In order to avoid potential accusations of discrimination in the election campaign program, we will not be broadcasting political advertisements of any of the political options.

In recent years, journalists of the media outlets within the United Media group have been continuously labeled and attacked by pro-government media, the highest state officials, pro-government citizens’ associations and nominally independent regulators. They have been called “lie factories,” “rapists,” “propaganda”, “quasi-journalistic, quasi-political and quasi-democratic scourges,”, “fascist and tycoon media,” and “pro-Kurti media.” They have been accused of generating violence in Serbian society by critical reporting on events in Serbia, of robbing and killing the state, inciting civil war and propagating hatred, creating a sick atmosphere. They have been attacked physically and verbally, arrested or threatened with arrest. They have been told a gun would be held to their head, that they would be killed like rats, hanged, burned, impaled, that they would end up like Charlie Hebdo journalists, whose tragic murder shocked the world.

The largest state-owned companies have said that the aim of their actions is to “put an end to the United Media operations in Serbia.” At the requests to decide on an orderly application for a national broadcasting license within the prescribed deadline, in a fair and transparent procedure, the relevant authority publicly said: “no can do.”

These ruthless campaigns, which threaten the safety of our employees, are either tacitly or explicitly condoned by the officials of the government or relevant institutions, who have remained silent to the requests to act in accordance with their duties. This is why Serbia’s ranking on all relevant media freedom lists is among the lowest in Europe.

All media outlets within the United Media family insist on independent, professional and accurate reporting, in line with the best international standards. It will be especially important to us if, following years of boycotting our media outlets, in this campaign government officials get to stand before our journalists and enable the Serbian citizens to recall what it is like when they are asked questions for which they have no pre-prepared answers.

United Media is the leading media company in South East Europe, which broadcasts 55 television channels in eight countries, along with a large number of portals, print media, radio stations and other similar media activities.

Operating within United Media in Serbia are N1, Nova and Danas.