N1 to stage campaign debates – SNS, SPS refuse invitation


N1 TV said on Tuesday that it would organize three campaign debates to help Serbians chose who to vote for in the elections on December 17 which the two main ruling parties are refusing to take part in.

“With the intention of offering the citizens of Serbia a real debate between the participants in the parliamentary, provincial and Belgrade elections and to provide room to face off views on key issues, N1 TV will realize three election debates this year,” a press release said and added that political parties and coalitions have been invited to send their representatives to N1 but that the two biggest ruling coalition parties refused.

It said that the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) did not reply to any of the 17 e-mails inviting them to debates, duels or guest appearances on several shows. An advisor to Belgrade Mayor Aleksandar Sapic (SNS) said that he would take part in a debate but only on his own. The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) said they can’t accept the invitation because its officials have already agreed to appear elsewhere.

“We especially wanted to include SNS officials in the dialogue because they were loudest in their criticism of United Media not to broadcast political marketing, claiming discrimination. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic (SNS) accused N1 of not allowing the voicing of different views.

“We reported the election activities of all parties and coalitions daily in line with the highest standards of journalism. We offered representatives of all election tickets a platform for their programs and views in our shows. The SNS did not use that opportunity and remained consistent in their practice of avoiding N1.

“We regret that the public won’t get an opportunity to hear an exhange of arguments among the various political options running in the coming elections, primarily the views of the SNS and SPS who have been in power for more than a decade. As the people responsible for the direction the country has been going in the past 11 years we feel that it is important for them to join in a constructive dialogue with their political opponents and answer questions from journalists.

“Our invitation remains open: come and take part in the live debate this Wednesday at 9 pm. The public deserves a transparent exchange of views to be able to take an informed decision at the elections,” the press release said adding that Branislav Sovljanski and Tatjana Aleksic will host debates on the next two Wednesdays.