Belgrade’s Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic on Monday accused N1 TV of being unprofessional, claiming he had access to an internal e-mail which he claims includes instructions to reporters to wage a campaign against him. N1 denies his claims.
The e-mail that Vesic claims he had access to is part of customary communication between editors and reporters. Vesic said the e-mail prepared him for the questions asked at a news conference. Vesic has accused N1 of being unprofessional in several appearances on TV stations with national frequencies.
“I will publish the e-mail that you reporters were sent by your editor (Jugoslav) Cosic in which he instructs you how to report from the 27 Marta street (which is undergoing reconstruction, causing disruptions in traffic) since I just received that e-mail which says that Goran Vesic is talking about the report by a former BBC director (the Harding report, an internal document) who said that N1 reporting is not objective, that you are waging a campaign and so on. I will publish that today and we’ll see how unobjective N1 is. The fact that he instructed you this morning to wage a campaign over that just shows how much objective journalism there is in your station. That has nothing to do with you personally, you get a job to do and that’s alright but I just have to say this because of your TV,” Vesic said.
This is the exchange with an N1 reporter:
N1: Does your job include hacking our internal e-mails and using them for your political campaign?
Vesic: Friends sent it to me. Just like you fabricate conversations with people, someone sends me this. No one is hacking your e-mails, don’t cloud the issue. The former BBC director said it all about your reporting. Don’t ask us, ask him.
N1: Have you read the report? Vesić: I have nothing more to say to you. N1: Have you read the report?
Vesić: Of course. It says that you’re not objective, that you don’t respect the standards of professional reporting. I said that I read it.
N1: How did you read it and how did you get it? I’m fairly sure that you haven’t. Vesić: The fact that you’re sure is your problem. I read it.
After Vesic left the news conference, his media advisor Masa Radulovic voiced insults against the N1 TV crew and said that N1 will no longer be able to cover the deputy mayor’s news conferences unless its reporters send her questions in advance, claiming that other reporters do the same. Radulovic was part of the group of women who fiercely prevented a group of opposition politicians from entering Belgrade city hall to meet with the mayor earlier this year.
N1 TV’s News Director Jugoslav Cosic never issued any instructions to reporters to wage a campaign against the Belgrade city authorities and the deputy mayor, a statement said.
Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic does not have access to any e-mail with instructions of that kind because no such document exists and Vesic is deliberately deceiving the public in a campaing that he is personally waging against N1.
If the deputy mayor has come into possession of regular, customary e-mail correspondence between editors planning programming, individual reports and topics for reporters to cover, of the kind that exists in every TV news desk, N1 will file a request with the Special Prosecution for High-Tech Crime for an investigation to determine who and in what way conducted unauthorized wire-tapping and the interception of communication within N1 TV.
N1 wants to add that it will never send questions in advance to the cabinet of the deputy mayor or anyone else despite the threats from his PR team that N1 TV will not be allowed to ask questions at news conferences by the deputy mayor unless they are submitted in advance.