RSF calls REM to follow the law in decision on 5th frequency


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called Serbia’s electronic media regulator (REM) to comply with legal requirements and protect the right to reliable, pluralistic news and information when allocating a new, fifth TV frequency.

“The Serbian media landscape is polluted by propaganda, influence peddling and fake news, a scourge that plagues the entire Balkans as Serbia’s TV channels are also broadcast in neighboring countries. It is vital for the right to information and media pluralism in Serbia and beyond that the REM applies the law that is in effect and assigns the fifth national frequency to a media that can guarantee editorial independence and journalistic ethics more credibly than the four current license holders,” an RSF statement said and recalled that the REM decide to renew the licenses of four pro-government TV channels.

“The REM decision’s many critics include two of the TV channels that were denied a licence, N1 and Nova S, which have filed legal challenges. Inter alia, they accuse the REM of ignoring the obligation to promote media pluralism, pointing out that all of the four TV channels whose licences were renewed take a similar political line in their programming,” it added.

The RSF recalled that the Slavko Curuvija Foundation and CRTA NGOs accused REM of violating the Rules on the Minimum Conditions for the Provision of Media Services which says REM must evaluate compliance with regulations and with journalistic standards and media ethics, a requirement which could not have been satisfied because the four TV channels ignored REM warnings and reprimands in the past.

The president of the REM’s board, Olivera Zekic, did not respond to any of RSF’s requests for a comment.