Brother of high-ranking ruling party official buys two national television companies

December 16, 2018

Srđan Milovanović, a former co-owner of cable television network Kopernikus, has paid 180 million euros to purchase two national television companies – TV Prva and TV O2 – which were previously owned by Greece’s Antenna group.

This acquisition comes just a few weeks after the sale of cable TV network Kopernikus to Telekom Srbija, which is majority owned by the state, for a price of 195 million euros. Milovanović had a 49 per cent ownership stake in Kopernikus.

Milovanović is the brother of an official of the Serbian Progressive Party, which is led by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. Many critics have characterised this acquisition of these two national television companies as an attempt to bring them under the control of the ruling party – a claim that’s denied by their new owner, who stated that he has never even met SNS leader and Serbian President Vučić and doesn’t not have any communication with him.

He stated that he will not interfere in the editorial policies of the television companies that he has bought and that the authors of entertainment and satirical shows that are critical of President Vučić, Ivan Ivanović and Zoran Kesić, have no cause for concern.

Critics of the sale of Kopernikus claim that – given the operator’s modest market share – the price of 195 million euros is as much as five-times the market value, and that it’s no coincidence that as many as two national televisions were purchased for a significantly smaller amount, and that they were bought using the funds of companies in which the state has a majority ownership stake.

The Regulatory body for electronic media approved Milovanović’s purchase of TV Prva and TV O2 (formerly TV B92) after establishing that the acquisition is not detrimental to media pluralism. Alongside these two television companies, Milovanović has also become the owner of a television