Three members of the RTV TV Programme Board denounced the television editorial staff for refusing demands of the anti-government #1 in 5 million protests’ organisers for more extensive coverage of the demonstration, the Beta news agency reported on Friday.
They called on the leadership “to step down” if it could not organise a public debate in which the citizens and their representatives would take place.
“We call on the RTV bosses to treat the public broadcaster as a pillar of democracy in (Serbia’s northern province of) Vojvodina and to leave their party or other interests aside or leave the positions they hold and give way to quality news content. The content that will include public debate in which citizens, their representatives, as well as the minority and marginalised groups will participate,” the three members - Aleksandra Djuric Bosnic, Dragan Pejic and Milos Katic – said in a statement.
They said there was a lot of examples of professional violations and ignoring important issues for people, and accused the RTV of continuing to avoid other crucial topics like spending of public funds, the collapse of institutions and alike.
“The public broadcaster RTV’s management and editorial staff has no mandate to decide whether the citizens’ demands are legitimate since people’s legitimacy is unquestionable while the legitimacy of the public broadcasters exists only in case they do the job in line with laws and rules of the profession,” the statement said.
It added the management “is legitimate only if led by the public interests which oblige them to objective an unbiased reporting.”
Earlier in the week, the representatives of the #1 in 5 million protest from Vojvodina’s capital Novi Sad and the RTV leadership discussed people’s dissatisfaction with the RTV reporting on demonstrations held in the city for weeks and the protesters submitted their demands.
RTV asked for three days to answer the requests submitted in a written form which included “continued, objective and professional” reporting on protests in RTV news programme and “not less than five minutes” in the main news programme at 5 pm related to the issues of the protests.
The representatives of the protesters said they were satisfied that the meeting took place but not with its outcome.
And on Thursday, the protesters received the RTV reply in which it rejected their demands.
The letter signed by RTV CEO Miodrag Koprivica said that the RTV reported on #1 in 5 Million protests on all of its media platforms, adding the requests were “interference and pressure on the editorial policy and each editor”.
He added the demand on the duration of reports on the protests was in violation of the law and journalists code and the demand for five minutes of reporting on the rallies was an attempt at censorship.