Protest over Rio Tinto video in front of Serbian state TV

Protest RTS, Rio Tinto

A crowd of several hundred people gathered in front of the Serbian state TV (RTS) building in central Belgrade to protest the public broadcaster’s refusal to air a video about the Rio Tinto company and its plans to open a lithium mine in the west of the country.

The video is titled Serbia Not For Sale and was produced by the Kreni Promeni (Start Change) organization with the help of several celebrity actors. The video is a reaction to a Rio Tinto advertisement aired on the RTS and other stations.

The RTS said that the Serbia Not For Sale video was not aired because the organization failed to provide an advertising declaration.

An N1 reporter at the protest said the protest was organized by Kreni Promeni and several environmental organizations. Those organizations said that the RTS refusal to air the video was not a bureaucratic issue but a simple refusal. A spokesman for Kreni Promeni said that RTS managers gave them assurances that the video would be aired on Tuesday and then stopped answering calls the next day.

The protest organizers set up a stage and video beam in front of the RTS building to show the video.

Two of the actors who helped make the video told N1 earlier that this is not about a political fight and added that charges have been filed against the RTS.

Rio Tinto is planning to open a lithium mine in western Serbia. The plans and geological research which is already underway have drawn fierce protests by both local people in the area andd environmental organizations across the country.