Govt. urged to preserve Tanjug as "independent, unbiased"
The European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) addressed a letter to the Serbian government in view of the announced change of Tanjug's role.Source: Tanjug
The letter underlined that that in the process the authorities should "secure the agency's position as an independent provider of unbiased news services to traditional and new media in Serbia and abroad."
In the letter, the board of EANA, which comprises European news agencies such as German DPA, Agence France-Presse, Austrian APA, Italian ANSA, Russian Itar-Tass and others, placed on record its concern "over statements indicating that Serbian news agency Tanjug could be forced to change its role from a national news agency to serve more as a state PR office."
EANA underscores that, instead, Tanjug's current position should be preserved.
EANA notes that Tanjug is a well-known brand in the news agency business, which "has recently under the present management been re-vitalised both financially and editorially", adding that thanks to such development, the news agency was awarded the EANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality in 2011.
"We appreciate the Serbian government's ambition to modernise the rules under which Tanjug operates. For a news agency's trustworthiness, both within the country and towards its international partners, it is vital that the ownership structure, whichever one chosen, is clear, transparent and makes the provision of true and unbiased news the foremost editorial goal," the release reads.
EANA comprises privately and publicly owned news agencies in 31 European countries and serves as a forum for cooperation and information for the news agency business, the release reads.
"The news agency business constitutes the very basics of news gathering and distribution and has to be seen as a backbone of true and unbiased news reporting in a democracy," the Alliance notes.
"It is a business that needs a healthy environment abounding in freedom of the press, fair competition and simple and basic rules to operate," EANA stresses.
"To secure an economic and legal environment for news agencies operating in accordance with these rules is therefore one of EANA's main concerns," the release notes.