UM tells Serbia’s PM it informed EU on Telekom-Telenor move to destroy SBB

NEWS 05.02.2021 22:47
United Media

The United Media (UM) informed Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Culture and Information Minister Maja Gojkovic about its address to the respective European institutions about the state-owned Telekom and private telecommunication Telenor companies' deal to join forces to destroy the UM's SBB cable operator and its two TV channels N1 and Nova S.

Telekom Serbia and Czech businessman Petr Kellner’s Telenor agreed to cooperate in what Telekom’s CEO Vladimir Lucic openly described as the move to end SBB and its operations in Serbia in a document which Lucic presented to the company’s Executive Board and which and which N1 had access to.

United Media a part of the United group which includes SBB, N1, Nova S and Sport Klub, warned on Monday that free media in Serbia were under attack,  besides its move to reduce the SBB market share to under 30 percent and thus seriously financially harm the company.

Serbia’s top officials kept silent for days, but then first President Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday advised both companies to resolve the issue in courts, while Brnabic said earlier on Friday that was a market dispute which had nothing to do with media freedom in the country.

Many experts and some opposition parties also understood the agreement as a plan to suffocate free media.

United Media’s letter sent to Brnabic on Friday reads:

Dear Prime Minister,

We would like to respectfully inform you that United Media has notified all the institutions of the European Union, relevant officials and other international organizations to express grave concern over the commercial deal between the State-owned Telekom company and private operator Telenor.

As you know, in documents that have become public, Telekom’s Director, Vladimir Lucic, clearly states that the agreement is aimed to destroy the third cable operator SBB and to shut down media operations within our company, N1 and Nova S TV.

The State of Serbia is a 58.11 percent majority share-owner of Telekom. Therefore, we urgently request, in your role as the Prime Minister, that a public statement is made to clarify that Serbia is a state where equal conditions are allowed for all participants in the market. We are sure you will agree that state resources should not be used to destroy competition in broadcasting and publishing and free media is the foundation of a strong democratic government.

We believe a public statement from your office is crucial at this time so that citizens know that the Government of Serbia rejects the intentions and plans of Telekom Director, Vladimir Lucic.



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