The United Group said in Tuesday’s statement that the Serbian authorities have been launching attacks at it because of the objective reporting by N1 TV.
“The Serbian authorities have just one target, the United Group company and the campaign being waged by state officials against a private company, which is also one of the biggest foreign investors in the country, is something unprecedented in Europe.
The entire state apparatus has been set into motion only to prevent the citizens of Serbia from getting objective information. Top state officials are using the media they control every day to threaten the owners and employees of our company. The public lynching, and the authorities are no longer keeping this secret, has been organized only because the United Group includes N1 TV and the Nova S channel which maintain professional standards.
In truth, critical reporting and debate have been banished from the public in Serbia and the authorities are using the daily witchhunt to send our company the message that we will face serious consequences in our business operations if we continue objectively informing the population. Freedom of information is a basic human right under the United Nations charter which was adopted in 1948 but it is obviously not being implemented in Serbia in 2019.
The attempts ot discredit and intimidate the United Group have been ongoing for years. Officials of the ruling parties are competing to see how can voice more lies about our company and our employees.
The threats have turned into concrete steps against the United Group because the authorities are inflicting harm on us wherever they believe that they can, at all levels of government from the highest to local.
Last month, SBB was targetted in a synchronized operation by labour inspection. Inspectors marched into 44 SBB branch offices with inspection warrants on the same day at the same time, exactly at 09:00 am. They checked the personal IDs of all employees which they have the legal right to do but their aggressive demeanour made it clear that they had permission to behave in that way which cannot be viewed as professional.
We do not have any knowledge of any company in Serbia which strictly obeys the law as we do suffering this inspection “assault”.
The attacks continued with more lies being voiced that we are using cable infrastructure for free even though we have legal contracts with the power and heating companies and the Telekom and that we are paying full price for that which we have contracts for.
We wonder if the Serbian authorities realize that a big foreign investor cannot be persecuted illegally without consequences. The United Group will start legal proceedings in Serbia and the European Union over the illegal actions of the Serbian authorities against our company to protect itself from the attacks and prevent further damage to our company, the United Group statement said.