The owner of a cable TV channel in the northern Serbia city of Novi Sad has gone on hunger strike to draw attention to the station’s problems.
Kanal 9 owner and CEO Maja Pavlovic said she was resuming the hunger strike she stopped a year ago when state-owned ETV telecommunications service provider shut down Kanal 9 over an alleged debt.
“Unfortunately I am continuing the hunger strike a year later because the state has done nothing and things are much worse,” she said in a written statement adding that she has no other option after her bank accounts were frozen following court rulings in copyright fee cases.
Pavlovic said she had learned that TV stations close to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) did not have to pay the copyright fees nor the state-owned offices they use.
According to Pavlocic, media which are not under SNS control are loosing income, being forced to pay for non-existent expenses, have no legal protection, are raided by inspection services with criminal charges filed. “That is the price local and regional media have to pay to be free today,” she said.