Two personal broadcasters in Serbia – N1 Srbija and Nova, recognized to be extremely essential of the authorities – stopped broadcasting for twenty-four hours on Tuesday, in protest on the poor state of media freedom within the Western Balkan EU candidate nation.
Each TV channels are a part of the United Media group, seen as near the Serbian opposition, and each have been repeatedly criticising the more and more autocratic President Aleksandar Vučić and his authorities.
The 2 channels displayed solely a black emblem and the caption “Darkness in Serbia, with out free media”.
N1 stated in an announcement issued at midnight on Tuesday they wished to illustrate “the darkness that will reign if N21 and Nova weren’t broadcasting”.
“On this method, we highlighted years of strain we’ve needed to put up with, in addition to makes an attempt to curb our visibility and minimize our financing,” the assertion stated, itemizing the refusal by the state regulator to award a fifth nationwide broadcasting licence – for which each have utilized – as the newest instance of strain.
Some opposition politicians supported the blackout throughout a parliament session in Belgrade and held up black cardboard indicators with the identical caption.
N1 reported that MP Stefan Jovanović had handed over a non-paper to the Council of Europe’s Committee on tradition and media, the place he stated Vučić’s authorities was stifling free media and threatening journalists, labelling them as enemies and traitors.
Serbia is ranked 79th out of 180 international locations within the Reporters With out Borders 2022 World Press Freedom Index, and it continues to grapple with authorities interference and management and an absence of assist for the struggling unbiased media within the nation.
Vučić himself commented briefly on the blackout as he addressed reporters on the sidelines of a summit in Tirana on Tuesday.
“If they are saying they’ve an issue with the liberty of expression and can’t communicate freely, then it’s an issue for his or her proprietor who shouldn’t be permitting them to take action,” he stated/
(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)