Mesto: Beograd Datum: 05.04.2017 Dogadjaj: DRUŠTVO/POLITIKA - protestna šetnja graðana nezadovoljnih izbornim rezultatima u centru Beograda Licnosti:

The Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation supports the demands of the “Against Dictatorship” protests

April 11, 2017

Journalism and media associations and organisations, including the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, strongly support the demands of the “Against Dictatorship” protests relating to media freedom and the dismissals of members of the REM Council and the senior management of the public service broadcasters of Serbia and Vojvodina.

Journalism and media associations and organisations consider that many other deep cuts are necessary on our media scene, but that meeting these demands represents a first step, but an important step, towards achieving the ultimate goal: dispelling the media darkness in which Serbia lives, securing media pluralism and preventing further drastic abuse of the media by the authorities.

“It has long been clear that the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) operates in violation of the law, that it is staffed by incompetent and politically appointed individuals, hired through party lines, in some cases with drastic violations of the law. It is also clear that this body does not work in the interest of citizens, but rather only follow the orders of the authorities. REM has been converted into a body for engineering media that the government has implemented above the citizens of Serbia and their common sense. REM, whose existence was ultimately meaningless during the election campaign – is one of the biggest cancers of our media scene,” states a press release issued jointly by journalism and media associations and organisations.

They remind that public service broadcasters, which according to the Law on Public Service Media have a special obligation to report in accordance with public interest, professionally, accurately, fully and in a timely manner, also reached the pinnacle of unprofessionalism and political instrumentalisation during the election campaign, while the way they report on the mass protests across Serbia represents the most disgraceful pages in their history.

“While tens of thousands of citizens protest daily in search of change, the management of public service broadcasters ignore the reality being shouted and whistled to them from the streets, and instead of being in the service of the public for which they exist, they actively serve in the creation of SNS’s parallel universe, in which everything is always in the right place – and if something is wrong, it is enough to say that it does not exist.

“If for no other reason, and there are a lot of reasons, then because of this, the management of public service broadcasters must immediately resign and cease disgracing the profession of journalism,” the press release states.

Journalism and media associations and organisations also strive for strict adherence to the Code of Conduct of Journalists of Serbia, through the strengthening of self-regulation, but also through the strict distancing of all institutions, public figures and socially responsible enterprises from media companies that drastically violate the code of ethics on a daily basis, or placing such media companies in the place deserve, and that is the pillar of shame.

They point out that it is also important for the judiciary in Serbia to sanction media companies that violate the Law on Public Information and the Media, but that this should be done in a way that is consistent with the high standards of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which implies that this Law applies equally to all, including when it comes to the duration of judicial proceedings.

These journalism and media associations and organisations gave thanks to the citizens who stood up in defence of that which belongs to them, and those are institutions that, always and above all, should be led by public interest.

They also thank the public for recognising the importance of the media and the importance of fighting for media freedom.

Belgrade-Novi Sad-Niš-Kragujevac, 11th April 2017

Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS)
Independent Society of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV)
Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM)
Association of Local Independent Media – Local Press
Association of Online Media (AOM)
Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation

Photo: FoNet / Zoran Mrdja