Regulatory body rejects charge against TV Pink for witch-hunt on TV N1 and its reporters

February 16, 2020

Late November last year saw the Council of the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) reject allegations filed by more than 500 citizens against TV Pink for its continued witch-hunt against TV N1 and its journalists Yugoslavia Ćosić and Miodrag Sovilj.

It was in November 2019 that Television Pink used the occasion of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s admission to hospital for treatment to launch a campaign in which it blamed the deterioration of the president’s health on TV N1, its director of programming Yugoslav Ćosić and journalist Miodrag Sovilj, who had attempted to receive answers from the president regarding the issue of the involvement of the father of Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović in trading arms via the Krušik factory.

Over the course of five days, numerous guests – among them high-ranking state officials – made unfounded accusations against TV N1, Sovilj and Ćosić, accusing them of attempting to murder the President of the Republic and indirectly calling for a lynching. The campaign was ridiculed in public and dubbed the “mobile phone attack”.

This resulted in the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, and 522 citizens who responded to the SĆF’s call, submitting reports condemning TV Pink to REM. Although the REM session at which a decision was brought on the reports was held at the end of November last year, the minutes of the session were published only recently and show that a unanimous decision was made in this case that “there is no place for the initiating of proceedings”.

“With its decision, REM states that there is no limit to the abuse of national frequencies when the intimidating of independent media and journalists is required, and that it engages directly in the suppression of the small number of surviving news outlets that seek to work in the public interest,” noted the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation in a statement.

Due to its professional reporting that’s critical of the authorities, TV N1 and its journalists have long been targets of criticism and attacks from government officials and tabloid newspapers. In addition to verbal attacks and the performances of unknown organisations in front of the headquarters of this media company, the website of TV N1 has also been hit repeatedly by hacker attacks.