The Serbian government and six media and journalists’ organizations disagreed on Friday over what they discussed at their meeting a day earlier.
The meeting was held as part of a government effort to bring those organizations back into a working group drafting a national media strategy. The organizations submitted a list of demands that have to be met beforehand.
A government press release said that the media and journalists’ organizations requested information about the tax inspections at the Juzne Vesti portal in Nis but the organizations denied that they wanted information, saying they demanded a solution to the problem. “Representatives of the media and journalists’ organizations demanded information on the case and government representatives disclosed facts that showed that the tax inspectors acted in line with regulations and laws,” the government press release said.
“The government statement does not mention the fact that representatives of the six organizations reacted sharply to the Tax Authority misbehaviour in investigating the company that owns Juzne Vesti,” a statement by the six organizations said, adding that they do not agree with the conclusion that the investigation was in line with the law.
The six media and journalists’ organizations said they will continue to insist on the resolving of the Juzne Vesti case to prevent it being used as a precedent to suppress the media.
Juzne Vesti said that the Tax Authority launched proceedings to force payment of a debt after tax inspectors filed charges under a government decree which covers only companies in the public sector not privately owned companies. The Tax Authority claims that Juzne Vesti owe millions of Dinars in taxes for the salary of its editor in chief.