European Commission: no progress on freedom of expression in Serbia

May 31, 2019

Serbia has not achieved progress on freedom of expression, although it is to some extent prepared for the EU in this area, and this lack of progress is now causing serious concerns, according to the European Commission’s annual report for 2019 on Serbia’s progress on the road to the EU.

The report states that Serbia should create an environment for unhindered freedom of expression, ensure respect for media laws, adopt a new media strategy, and ensure adequate funding of public services and transparency of media ownership. The report notes that a working group comprising representatives of media associations and state officials submitted a draft media strategy to the Government of Serbia in December 2018 and that the consultation process has, to date, been transparent and inclusive.

With regard to the recommendations of the European Commission from the previous report, the overall environment still doesn’t favour the exercising of freedom of expression.

The report states that cases of threats, intimidation and violence against journalists continue to be a cause of concern, adding that several cases have been resolved, and that some criminal charges have been filed, but that investigations and final verdicts remain rare. The first instance verdict for the