"Censorship in Serbia is easy to prove" - RWB

Executive director of Reporters Without Borders Christian Mihr has said that "censorship in Serbia is neither direct nor transparent, but is easy to prove."

Source: Beta, Tanjug

Mihr is one of the authors of the organization's recently published report about media freedom in the world, the Beta agency said.

In an interview for the Slavko Curuvija Foundation's Cenzolovka website - Mihr said that authorities in Serbia had "a very negative stance towards media freedom and suppressed critical, free reporting and influenced editorial policies by pressuring the media, often financially, via advertising."

Commenting on a recent statement made by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who questioned the validity of the report by Reporters Without Borders regarding censorship in the media in Serbia, Mihr said that, during 2014, independent media and journalists who were critical were exposed to "serious pressure on several occasions, despite the fact that the process of Serbia's EU membership negotiations is under way."

Articles criticizing the government have been removed from the internet, while independent journalists were threatened or exposed to pressure, he said, according to the Beta report.

"Media freedom must be a strong condition for Serbia's admission to the EU," Mihr said.

Recollecting that Serbia had dropped on the organization's media freedom list by 13 places this year, Mihr estimated that this was "sad for a country which is a candidate for EU membership."

Honorable man

Commenting on the statement of Johannes Hahn that evidence was needed to support the claims of media freedom violations in Serbia, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said earlier this week that it showed the EU official was "an honorable man."

"I did not hear this evidence. I guess the idle ones who up until now made various insults will find them," Vuci remarked, and added he was "grateful to Hahn for showing he was ready to stand under fierce media pressure, but cared much more about the truth."

"In that way he showed he is an honorable man," the prime minister stressed.


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