N1 TV News Director Jugoslav Cosic told Belgrade weekly magazine Vreme that he is convinced that a part of the media are controlled by what he called the “president’s media general staff”.
“Alo and other tabloids and almost all electronic media are controlled, I am convinced, by the Serbian president’s media general staff. That general staff takes all important media decisions: who will be attacked tomorrow, in what way and which questions will (President Aleksandar) Vucic be asked. The questions are passed to who should get them and then a surprised president is asked them at a media conference. That is what editorial policy is like,” Cosic said and added that the independent media are going through the same things that Jews went through in national socialist Germany in 1936 – introduction into extermination.
Cosic said he does not regret a tweet in which he called the Alo tabloid “a media SS detachment” after the it accused N1 of calling for the murder of the president.
Commenting Belgrade Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic‘s accusations that N1 was waging a campaign against the city authorities after publishing an internal e-mail for editors to reporters, Cosic said that the e-mail is authentic but contains nothing disputable or controversial. „It only instructed the journalist to report from the event and ask the deputy mayor about the traffic jams and if he actually read the so-called Harding report on N1 which he mentioned several times. Every TV station has those kinds of plans for the next day and editors always draft them,“ he said.
Cosic added that everything Vesic said was a fabrication because there was no order to attack the city authorities which is evident from the e-mail. „The depuyt mayor knew that full well and consciously told lies in his personal struggle to survive and become caliph in place of the caliph in a city which is sinking into chaos and it‘s getting harder to maintain the illusion that things are all right. The more so since N1 is a very unpleasant media witness because we follow the city every day. I think his biggest frustration is that he does not enjoy too much trust. He has pharaonic ambitions and he is least trusted in the top ranks of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). We know that from informal talks wtih SNS members. That is also confirmed by the fact that the SNS didn‘t dare make him mayor after the Belgrade city elections. He knows that because he is an extreme political turncoat,“ Cosic said.
It will be interesting to see whether the SNS will risk nominating Vesic at next year‘s elections, including local as the president announced, Cosic said. „They could suffer the same fate as (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan in Istanbul,“ he said.
Vreme recalled taht the United Group, which includes N1, warned of a negative campaign against N1 by Serbian officials outside the country.
"They finally realized that N1 has the firm and lasting support of its investors for its editorial policy and that nothing will change so they are directing their fire at the group itself because they think that it‘s destruction is they way to destroy not just N1 but also other independent media. It‘s not important that United Group employs 3,500 people,“ Cosic said.
He recalled that there was no mention of SBB, and its founder Dragan Solak in any scandal before 2014 when N1 TV started operating. „What does that tell you? Suddenly SBB and Solak came up and suddenly SBB was developing inappropriatelly and with political assistance,“ he said.
The N1 TV news desk is being told by viewers that the Telekom Serbia is digging up sidewalks to install their optics and entering buildings, deceiving their inhabitants that they have permission to drill holes in walls and put their cables in places where SBB already has its own.
"I have absolutely nothing against competition in any area, including the media, but I am opposed to violence and lawlessness (…) I support the development of the Telekom but this is about a political project and control of the media. We are not reporting about the installation of cable because we are part of the United Group even though we have that right because (Telekom) is a shareholder society owned by the state,“ Cosic said.
He recalled that N1 TV always states that N1 is part of the United Group when it reports on the Telekom or a United Group project because it does not want its viewers to get confused.