Situation in media sphere in Serbia "unsustainable"

The current situation on the Serbian media scene is "unsustainable because of a decline in the quality of content, non-transparent ownership and poor finances."

Source: Tanjug

This was agreed on by representatives of the Serbian government, the EU, international organizations and journalist and media associations, who gathered on Wednesday in Belgrade.

Opening a conference dubbed "The media between transition and European reforms," Minister of Culture and Information Bratislav Petković said that in the context of European integration it is important to put a legal framework in place for the operation of the media, and to leave the running of the media sphere to journalists and media outlets.

"In line with the coming EU accession process, the state will provide a legal framework for equal treatment of the media and their work free from outside influence," said Petković.

The media should be free of influence from business and political circles, but also be responsible for what they report to prevent violation of human rights and liberties.

The key role in the reform will be played by the journalists themselves, who should nurture investigative reporting and spur positive changes in society, said the minister, warning that changes in the media sphere will not be quick as the experience of EU member countries has shown this to be a gradual process.

French Ambassador to Serbia Francois Xavier Deniau, one of the sponsors of the conference, said Serbia urgently needs a new framework for stable and transparent work of the media and the state needs to have a different relationship with the media, noting that they should not be financed by the state but operate on the market independently.

A new financing system is needed to ensure access to quality information in the interest of the media and the people, he said.

Deniau said there is not a concrete European model Serbia should follow when it comes to public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia, noting that the Tanjug news agency is also a sensitive matter on which the EU will be keeping a close eye.

Luca Bianconi, head of the Political Section at the EU Delegation to Serbia, said Brussels is a little concerned about Serbia's slow pace in adopting media legislation, noting the process should be sped up.

Society

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