Media strategy drafting halted

May 3, 2018

The drafting of the national media strategy has been halted following consultations between President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, announced Vučić’s media advisor Suzana Vasiljević.

The interruption of the drafting of this document came at a juncture when the draft had been completed and, according to announcements of the Ministry of Culture and Information, was expected to soon be opened to public debate. The decision surprised the media community, especially given that the media strategy is under the jurisdiction of the Government and the Ministry and that the President has no formal right to interfere.

According to prominent journalist Tamara Skrozza, with this decision Vučić “humiliated the government and showed who really decides on the strategy”.

The development of the strategy has been accompanied by numerous controversies – primarily linked to the decision of relevant journalists’ and media associations to quit the working group that was tasked with drafting this document.

Vasiljević said that it is the desire of the country’s top leadership to implement the recommendations of the European Commission and the OSCE, i.e., that it is important that the writing of the strategy – which defines the country’s five-year policy in the media domain – includes the participation of professional associations, the non-governmental sector and international organisations.

The Ministry subsequently announced that a new media strategy would be completed by the end of the year.

The strategy’s adoption is already a year and a half late, with the previous strategy having ceased to be valid at year’s end 2016.