Role of Germany’s WAZ in sale of daily Dnevnik unclear

September 16, 2018

The pro-government TV Novi Sad (Novosadska televizija) has become the majority owner of fellow Novi Sad-based pro-government daily newspaper Dnevnik. Novosadka TV has now acquired the 55% stake in the company that was previously owned by Mediengruppe Balkan GMBH from Essen (Germany), which was founded by renowned media group WAZ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) during the previous privatisation of Dnevnik.

At the same time, German company WAZ withdrew from the Serbian market more than 10 years ago, thus it is not known who, if anyone, was entrusted with the management of company Mediengruppe Balkan GMBH or whether someone has taken over the ownership of this company.

It was once stated by well-known Serbian businessman Miroslav Bogićević that then Serbian President Boris Tadić had asked him, in 2011, to buy WAZ’s shares in newspapers Politika, Večernje novosti and Dnevnik, but the Serbian media have never managed to confirm whether Bogićević actually did so.

DVP Director Dušan Vlaović didn’t want to confirm who precisely Novosadska TV had purchased the majority stake from – whether that was WAZ, its subsidiary or Bogićević.

The director also declined to state how much Novosadska TV paid for its majority package. Some media report that the purchase cost only 600 euros.

Novosadska TV was a public company until purchased in 2015 by portal Srbija danas (Serbia Today). Both this television company and portal are known as media outlets that are very close to the current administration, while former employees of the Serbia Today portal claim that it is under the direct control of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party.