Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that a national media strategy was extremely important in securing the pluralism of news in the country.
He met with Andre Orici, chief of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Belgrade, thanking him for the OSCE offer to help in drafting the strategy.
Vucic’s office said in a statement that the two discussed the missions’ increasing engagement in reforms’ process in Serbia and the continuation of cooperation in media and freedom of expression.
“More consultations about media strategy will ensure higher legitimacy to the document which is of crucial importance for Serbia’s media sector,” the statement quoted Orici as saying.
Vucic said that it was important that “we work by the European democracies’ examples to create a different social atmosphere. Media strategy is, therefore, crucially important.”
That came after the latest report from the US rights watchdog in April saying that a lack of media freedom, corruption, and weak institutions remain issues throughout the Balkans – but singled out Serbia's growing authoritarianism as a matter of concern.
Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report also said Serbia experienced a downward trend, Balkan Insight reported.
The report warned that the EU's tolerance of Vucic's authoritarianism had allowed him to ”further sideline the opposition and undermine what remains of the independent media after winning the country's presidency in April”.
Later in April, the drafting of a new national media strategy has been stopped following consultations between Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.
The President’s media advisor Suzana Vasiljevic said that Vucic wanted the drafting of the strategy to be more open and called the OSCE to join in the process.