Opposition leader bans specific media outlets from attending press conferences

15 March, 2018

Opposition leader Dragan Đilas, whose list finished in second place in the local Belgrade elections, twice banned representatives of several media outlets from attending his press conferences, prompting sharp controversy among the public.

Access was denied to journalists of pro-government daily newspapers Alo, Srpski Telegraf, Informer and Večernje Novosti, as well as television companies TV Pink and Studio B.

According to Đilas, these journalists publish nonsense and lies about him every day “on the orders of Vučić”, and they are not journalists but rather “an extension of the hand of the state and the government that is introducing us to fascism”.

The Ministry of Culture and Information, along with the two largest journalists’ associations, condemned this act as discrimination against journalists, while the Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) pointed out that “nobody, not even Đilas, is authorised to decide who is and isn’t a journalist”.

Renowned journalists Tamara Skrozza and Maja Divac, however, consider that in a media environment where a single-minded government rules, individuals have been left with no other option in the fight against pro-government media, so this move is “an understandable and forced reaction”.

The Law on Public Information prohibits discrimination against editors and journalists, particularly with regard to their political affiliations and beliefs.