The Serbian Journalists‘ Association (UNS) condemned the behaviour of the Belgrade deputy mayor‘s media advisor Masa Radulovic who told N1 TV that its reporters had to submit questions in advance of media events.
Radulovic told an N1 TV crew after Monday‘s news conference by her boss deputy Mayor Goran Vesic that they had to send her whatever questions advance or they would not be allowed to ask them at events involving Vesic. The deputy mayor said at that news conference that he had a copy of an e-mail sent by editors to N1 TV reporters allegedly instructing them to wage a campaign against him and the city authorities. He failed to produce the e-mail when asked by an N1 reporter.
The UNS called the High-Tech Crime Prosecution to investigate and determine whether the e-mail accounts of N1 News Director Jugoslav Cosic and the station’s staff had been hacked. It recalled that under the Serbian Journalists’ Code, reporters get instructions only from their editors.
Radulovic did not reply to an e-mail from the UNS asking her why and since when were media obliged to submit questions in advance for the deputy mayor, a statement said and added that this demand for questions to be submitted in advance limits journalists’ right and duty to ask questions about issues of public interest.
Public officials must always be prepared to answer questions from reporters and must explain why they can’t answer some questions, the UNS said.