Media associations condemn cable operator
Several Serbian media associations have condemned the country's largest cable operator Serbia Broadband (SBB) in a statement issued on Tuesday.Source: ANEM
The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), the Journalists' Association of Serbia (UNS), the Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia (NUNS) and the Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina (NDNV) said that SBB had cut off TV Avala from its distribution system while the station was still broadcasting its terrestrial program.
After this, the operator replaced the position of this television outlet with a national license in the SBB cable system with a new channel broadcasting by the company Pink International, TV Pink 2, in a completely non-transparent manner and in violation of its own operating rules.
ANEM, NUNS, UNS and NDNV point out that according to SBB General Operating Rules, which the company had adopted and published on its website, in case of appearance of an empty slot in its broadcasting resources, all eligible broadcasters would be allowed to apply for that position.
ANEM, NUNS, UNS and NDNV demand that SBB inform the public who has been offered this empty slot that appeared in its cable system after closure of TV Avala and what procedure has been followed. The associations demand that SBB tell the public what criteria were used to make the decision to give this broadcasting slot to TV Pink 2 and who are the members of the Program Council of SBB who had reviewed applications by other candidates for this position, if such applications were reviewed at all.
The associations emphasize that the lack of a satisfying response would indicate that the provider's dominant position has been abused in this case, contrary to the principle of fair competition, and that SBB has limited the market and applied unequal business criteria to different participants in the market.
The action of SBB has put all other television stations who were interested in being broadcast by the cable resources previously available to TV Avala in an unfavorable position in comparison with Pink International and its new channel TV Pink 2. It should be noted that most of cable subscribers previously had the channel that belonged to TV Avala memorized in their remote controls as a single digit channel. For this reason, ANEM, NUNS, UNS and NDNV will submit a complaint to the Committee for Protection of Competition.
ANEM, NUNS, UNS and NDNV call on everyone to support the employees of TV Avala, who have become victims of paradoxical circumstances – they are being left out of work at the same time when one of the co-owners of their station is expanding operations, applying for and getting licenses for no less than nine new channels.