Front page


Invitation to dialogue between government and media


BELGRADE, April 24, 2003 – The undersigned editors-in-chief of Serbian publications and broadcasters are concerned at the increasing number of misunderstandings and conflicts between members of our profession and government officials. These became particularly prevalent under the state of emergency. We therefore invite the authorities to join representatives of the media in discussing the key problems in a tolerant and democratic atmosphere.

The agenda proposed for discussion with representatives of the Serbian Parliament, the Serbian Government and other state bodies are as follows:

1. The ramifications of adopting important media legislation under the state of emergency. This primarily concerns the Public Information Act and the appointment of members of the Broadcast Agency Council.
2. The taxation policies applying to media;
3. The practice of supplying information to media in briefing sessions under the state of emergency. We are convinced it is important to examine all the problems which occurred during the state of emergency and the consequences of these;
4. A review of actions taken against media during the state of emergency without regard for the law or principles;
5. A discussion of the attitude of government officers to the media, with a special focus on the threats which have been made to some editors;

We expect the government to:

• table amendments to the Public Information Act which would repeal those provisions of the act agreed on by the working group which prepared the media legislation. This applies particularly to those provisions which are conducive to unfair competition, such as the provision which allows the state to establish a news agency;
• support the demand of media associations to dismiss two members of the Broadcast Agency Council who were not appointed under the provisions of the law, while continuing to establish the Council itself;
• present proofs to support the allegations published against some media outlets and journalists or to apologise and provide compensation to those who sustained damage because of these claims. Responsibility for the resulting problems should also be established within the ranks of the government. At the same time, we are prepared to undertake an investigation of what has happened within our own profession;
• Reduce the tax on newspaper sales which is several times the level of taxes in the rest of Europe and in neighbouring countries. This has brought publishing houses to the brink of bankruptcy.

We are confident that the Serbian Government and the relevant parliamentary bodies will agree to a dialogue on these topics and proposals and thus put ourselves at your disposal.

Manojlo Vukotic, Editor-in-Chief of the daily “Vecernje novosti”
Dragan Janjic, Editor-in-Chief of the Beta news agency
Slavoljub Kacarevic, Editor-in-Chief of the daily ''Glas javnosti''
Mijat Lakicevic, Editor-in-Chief of the Ekonomist magazine
Veran Matic, Editor-in-Chief of RTV B92
Lila Radonjic, Editor-in-Chief of the Mreža production group
Dušan Radulovic, Editor-in-Chief of Radio Belgrade, First Program
Slobodan Reljic, Editor-in-Chief of the weekly “NIN”
Zoran Sekulic, Editor-in-Chief of the Fonet news agency
Veselin Simonovic, Editor-in-Chief of the daily ''Blic''
Nebojsa Spaic, Editor-in-Chief of Radio Belgrade 202
Grujica Spasovic, Editor-in-Chief of the daily ''Danas''
Gordana Suša, Editor-in-Chief of the independent VIN production group
Dragoljub Žarkovic, Editor-in-Chief of the weekly “Vreme”


Front page of special


Chronology of events



Media situation in Serbia, May 2003

Invitation to dialogue between government and media

Full text of the demand to replace two members of the Broadcast Agency Council



Srecko Mihajlovic: Lost in advance: the battle against pubic

Does the law not matter?

IFJ Warns of “Damage to Integrity of Broadcasting Law”

SEEMO Concerned over Press Freedoms in Serbia


OSCE urges new election for broadcast monitoring body

CPJ concerned about government harrassment of the press

IPI Serbia Alert

RWB Call for re-election of council

OSCE urges transparency in media appointments

ANEM: repeat Broadcast Council election

NGOs shun Broadcast Council debate

EC Charge d’Affaires: Cause for concern

US Ambassador Extremely Disappointed at Status of Media

Verena Taylor: Legal procedure was not respected

OSCE Chairman: Laws may never be broken

Head of OSCE Mission: (1) “Aware of certain criticism”

Dimitrijevic: Against flouting of law in name of public interest

Head of OSCE Mission: (2) The law was broken in the Broadcasting Council’s constituting

Andric: Decision will stand

Milivojevic: If there is suspicion about autonomy form outset, Council will not be able to operate.

Veljanovski: There is deliberate negative pressure from the authorities.

Lucic-Cavic: Angry that candidate of professional associations, one of our greatest media experts, won’t be sitting on the Council

Matic: Not only an issue for our profession, it is a problem for the entire society

Lucic-Cavic: We could have survived another month

Milenkovic: Will broadcasters follow Parliament’s suit in breaching law?

Radulovic: Guiding principle was bad

Zink: Govt and parliament should consider grounds and response

Click Here!

© 2003, B92