At the beginning of the publicly televised meeting, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Maja Pavlovic who has been on hunger strike for 23 days, that some of her demands could not be met, adding the hunger strike was a kind of serious blackmail.
Brnabic added that “it was unbelievable that in the society in which we all brag how much we need the rule of law everyone expects the Government to intervene with courts and are angry when it does not.”
“I don’t support hunger strike; it’s a kind of serious blackmail. We haven’t reached that level since the Government is always open for talks,” Brnabic added.
She said that “since some of the demands were fulfilled and some cannot be met and you said you would not stop the strike till they all are answered, I invited more people to this meeting to help to solve this. I don’t know how to do that. Should I violate the Constitution?”
Pavlovic, the owner of the Channel 9 TV from the northern city of Novi Sad, has received a letter earlier on Tuesday from the state-owned Telekom Serbia saying her media will be back on air distributed by IPTV, the Beta news agency reported on Tuesday.
She has been on hunger strike for 23 days and was treated in the Belgrade Emergency Room where she received an infusion, said she would not stop it until another her request regarding legal procedure launched by the Organisation of Serbia’s Phonogram Producers (OFPS) against her TV was stopped.
Also, the TV account was unblocked on Monday, but the money the TV had to pay for different duties was not returned to it, as Pavlovic asked, pending the Constitutional Court ruling on the amount of taxes local media were due to pay.
Among other demands, she requested that the Novi Sad Mayor Milos Vucevic from the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by President Aleksandar Vucic, stop discriminating the independent Channel 9 which existed 20 years and provide it with equal access to state media funds.