The presidential election campaign in Serbia has started, and the state regulatory body for electronic media (REM), which is responsible for monitoring the way media outlets report on the campaign, will not do so – with its justification being the fact that it does not have adequate software.
REM officials stated that this body will only act following reports from citizens complaining about irregularities in reporting.
Media experts in Serbia warn that in this way REM will participate in an unfair campaign, as it will not determine whether certain media outlets give more airtime to some presidential candidates, nor will anyone be sanctioned if they do favour or discriminate against some candidates.
According to the monitoring results of the Novi Sad School of Journalism, media abuses related to the elections have already begun. Namely, during February, the most watched television services in Serbia – public service Radio-Television Serbia and Radio-Television Vojvodina, as well as the largest commercial broadcaster, TV Pink, – devoted 72 to 90 per cent of their space to the activities of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party during their central news broadcasts, while the opposition was almost entirely absent.
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