Channel 9 director ends 19-day hunger strike after conversation with President Vučić

September 2, 2019

Maja Pavlović, the director of Novi Sad-based TV Channel 9, ended her hunger strike after 19 days, following a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. As she told Cenzolovka, she received guarantees that the president would speak with the relevant institutions to see how the problems of this Novi Sad television company can be resolved.

She began her third hunger strike in the last 15 months on 12th August, seeking from the outset to speak with the Serbian president. After 19 days without food, the last eight days of which she spent in front of the building of the Presidency, she was finally granted a meeting.

The meeting with President Vučić lasted almost two hours, after which Pavlović reported that Vučić told her that if nothing happens in the next 10 days she should start her strike again, stressing that there will be no need for that. She added that Vučić was aware of all of her demands, but that he had sought clarification regarding certain points.

Pavlović had received certain promises three months earlier from Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, after which she ended her second hunger strike, which had lasted 23 days.

All three strike actions of the director of this Novi Sad television in this most drastic and dramatic form represent a protest against the failure to resolve Channel 9’s four-year legal case disputing the fees that television broadcasters in Serbia have to pay to copyright protection organisations and regulators.

Pavlović was optimistic after her meeting with the President of Serbia, stating that progress had been achieved because talks had already begun with copyright protection organisations on adjustments to the tariff that has to be paid by television companies.

Her demands, the essence of which is that the tariffs are too high, have been supported by numerous local and foreign media and news organisations, as well as by individual owners of local media outlets.