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Serbian media regulator must defend media pluralism and independence, RSF says

todaySeptember 23, 2022 1

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The crassness of those influential TV channels and the regulator’s readiness to disregard their excesses have been highlighted but once more in latest days. The brand new instance was the results of a verbal dispute on social media between Pink TV proprietor Zeljko Mitrovic and Serbian YouTuber star Bogdan Ilic. The dispute got here to a head when Mitrovic threatened to supply a TV documentary exposing his critic, after which went forward along with his menace on 8 September, violating journalistic ethics and editorial independence by broadcasting a report on Pink TV accusing the YouTuber of “prison acts”, “gay practices,” paedophilia and spreading STDs.

Other than defaming Ilic, Pink TV additionally broke the regulation by misusing a nationwide frequency to fulfill the non-public pursuits of its proprietor, the think-tank BIRODI identified. That is simply the most recent instance of law-breaking by Serbia’s 4 nationwide TV channels with none sanction from the regulator, which raises questions on its independence.

Regardless of flagrant authorized breaches denounced by Judita Popovic, the one member of the REM’s Council appointed by the opposition, Pink TV‘s licence was renewed for the following eight years on 29 July, as have been these of the opposite pro-government channels – Completely satisfied, B92 and Prva (the final two of which have the identical proprietor). The one hope of seeing an impartial TV channel on the nationwide airwaves now lies within the promised new fifth frequency – a long-standing challenge in Serbia – the tender for which is able to open on 11 October.

REM choice criticised

Explaining its choice to resume the 4 current licences, the REM mentioned, “it notably appreciated the ensures given by the candidates of their programme improvement proposals, which is able to assist to guard media pluralism.” The REM mentioned it additionally took account of their previous work and their financial viability.

The REM choice’s many critics embrace two of the TV channels that have been denied a licence, N1 and Nova S, which have filed authorized challenges. Inter alia, they accuse the REM of ignoring the duty to advertise media pluralism, declaring that the entire 4 TV channels whose licences have been renewed take an analogous political line of their programming.

Two Serbian NGOs, the Slavko Curuvija Basis and the CRTA, have referred the choice to Serbia’s administrative courtroom, accusing the REM of violating Article 28 of paragraph 1 (3) of the Compendium of Guidelines on the Minimal Situations for the Provision of Media Providers. This text says the REM should consider compliance with laws and with journalistic requirements and media ethics. This requirement couldn’t have been happy as a result of the 4 TV channels ignored warnings and reprimands issued by the REM through the earlier licence durations, the NGOs argue of their grievance.

Popovic, the opposition’s solely consultant on the REM’s board, criticised the choice in an interview with the Belgrade every day Danas. She mentioned she thought the REM intentionally uncared for its obligation to contribute to the event of freedom of thought and expression and that the choice subsequently broke the regulation. However, when contacted by RSF, she mentioned she was not optimistic concerning the possibilities of any of the authorized challenges being profitable. The president of the REM’s board, Olivera Zekic, didn’t reply to any of RSF’s requests for a remark.

 

Montenegro sanctions Pink TV

A number of the newly re-licenced TV channels broadcast in Serbia are additionally accessible in neighbouring Montenegro, the place the native regulator, the AEM, supplied additional proof of their lack of journalistic ethics on 5 September when it banned the Pink TV morning present “Novo jutro” for the following six months. The AEM mentioned that, by broadcasting content material inciting hatred, Pink TV had violated the Council of Europe’s European Conference on Transfrontier Tv (which has been ratified by each Serbia and Montenegro), specifically, paragraph 1 of Part 7, which says broadcasters are liable for respecting human dignity and the elemental rights of others of their programmes.

In a post-election plan for supporting press freedom and the reliability of reports and knowledge in Serbia proposed final April, RSF urged the nation’s newly elected officers to ascertain a legislative and regulatory framework that ensures media independence. Inter alia, this implies making certain that the REM is neutral and efficient, allocating nationwide frequencies in a clear method, impartial of any political affect, and solely to media respecting the Code of Ethics for Journalists, and taking account of European requirements on skilled journalistic procedures, such because the Journalism Belief Initiative launched by RSF.

Serbia is ranked 79th out of 180 nations in RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index, whereas Montenegro is ranked 63rd.



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Written by: soft fm radio staff

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