Following an official address with the Austrian President Alexander van Der Bellen at the Belgrade Security Forum conference, Serbia’s head of state Aleksandar Vucic held a separate news conference for local and regional journalists where, in a different tone, again targetted media.
Vucic first criticised an RTS reporter for complaining about a statement by his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) official, and asked her why she did not react in the same way when Dragan Djilas, an opposition leader, “demanded that the editor-in-chief (of the Informer tabloid, considered close to Vucic and SNS) go to prison."
”N1: Before I post a question, I would like to ask you to stop putting pressure on our colleagues from the RTS, and to start addressing us with our proper name – N1. You have been calling us (the co-owner and the president of the United Group Board, Dragan) Solak’s and (a leader of the opposition Alliance for Serbia Dragan) Djilas’ television for months. Solak is our co-owner, but Dragan Djilas has no connection with the N1. I would kindly ask you to treat us professionally as we treat you. Is that all right?
Vucic: Go head, do you have a question?
N1: I do, but I asked you if that was all right?
Vucic: Go ahead.
The President then said that he had been trying to act professionally toward the N1.
Vucic: "Unlike you who haven’t been professional ever. And that is the harshest word I have for you – that you have never been professional. Instead, you are Dragan Djilas’ political branch office. Do you want to ban me from thinking and having a different opinion? Who are you and who has a right to tell me what I may say and what I must not? Or, will you form a commission and then hang me because I don’t think as you do?
And as far as Solak and Djilas are concerned, you are right. There is no paper evidence about Djilas’ ownership; he only owns Direct Media and a company in Bulgaria which Mr Solak bought. Has Solak paid Djilas 10 million Euros for a building? And he is only the co-owner of a company in Malta with a Direct Media director. Also Djilas’ director. Is that true? Well, it is. Just for people to understand who is lying and who is telling the truth.
So, Solak and Djilas are together in all businesses, buying from each other. But, it seems you don’t want to talk about the facts, but you like to punch a beg since I’m not on your television to defend myself. But, as you can see, when I have a chance to protect myself and tell the truth, it's worse for the fact.
I will address you as you ask me to, but will never miss the opportunity to say that it is Solak’s television with a maximum of Djilas’ political influence.
About their businesses, selling, buying, muddling, that's for people to judge.
So, I accepted your idea."
Vucic then asked when was he a guest at the N1 last time?
N1: Why haven’t you?
Vucic: "Why haven’t I? You’re right, why? Because you spend more time on persecuting my entire family than to ask me a question."
N1 TV: No politician influences our editorial policy
The N1 television has said that it is entirely independent television and that no politician, including Dragan Djilas, affects its editorial policy.
"N1 rejects any attempt of political influence on our editorial policy, regardless what side of the political spectre it comes from.
The same goes for linking N1 to any political organisation.
N1 is doing business within the United Group which, following all legal decisions and approval by respective regulatory bodies, became the only owner of the Direct Media agency.
The majority owners of the United Group are investment funds BC Partners and KKR.”