United Media: violations of media freedom at worrying level

English 20.04.2021 16:14
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United Media, an international company operating in Serbia, said on Tuesday that it warned the public, local and European institutions on several occasions about the worrying level of violations of media freedom that it faced and is facing again.

“Fear and self-censorship, caused by the ruling establishment’s control of the media, are so deeply embedded in every pore of society that we are witnessing the fact that there isn’t a single printing press in Serbia that would agree to print the new daily newspaper Nova which has been designed as an alternative to the existing print media,” United Media said.

It said that negotiations with companies whose basic business is printing newspapers and magazine. Politika, Borba, Ringier Axel Springer, Color Press, Grafoprodukt have given various explanations and did not accept the job. United Media added: “From silence to the claims that they “don’t have the capacities for the job” to “machines have broken down” the excuses came for why they do not want to with a few rare ones openly saying that they fear the reaction of the authorities”.

“Can it be that Ringier as the biggest and most modern printer in Serbia as they call themselves does not have the capacity to print the Nova newspaper alongside Blic, Kurir, Informer, Srpski Telegraf and Objektiv or is editorial policy the big problem which is different in this case,” United Media said. “We have reason to doubt the truthfulness of the answers baring in mind that all those printing presses recently had the capacity for much higher daily circulations,” it said.

According to United Media, this confirms the lack of media pluralism in Serbia. “The authoritis have taken editorial control of all TV stations with national frequencies, the state company Telekom has used huge funds on several occasions to invest in infrastructure, content and the acquisition of other operators to establish its domination of cable channels. Through a non-transparent contract worth 38 million Euro, the state has become owner of the Kurir tabloid and people close to the ruling regime bought Studio B, the HIT FM, TDI, JAT, Karolina radio stations, Vecernje Novosti daily, the Tabloid Alo and the state news agency Tanjug,” the press release said.

United Media said that a state monopoly has been established on the media scene in Serbia and a campaign is constantlyi being waged to shut down the few remaining free media, including N1 and Nova S.

“Local and international organizations have expressed deep concern over the state of media freedom in Serbia. In its annual report, Reporters Without Borders warned that “Serbia is a country with weak institutions that is prey to fake news spread by government-backed sensational media, a country where journalists are subjected to almost daily attacks that increasingly come from the ruling elite and pro-government media” which is why its important to prevent the remaining voices of independent journalism from being silenced and give the public access to free, professional media and true information and for the Nova daily newspaper to appear on newsstands across the country soon,” United Media said.

N1 is part of United Media.