Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s Prime Minister, invited the members of the working group for drafting Media Strategy “to spell out all their comments” about the document by the end of July, although it had already been sent to Brussels, the Beta news agency reported on Wednesday.
Those remarks together with the European Commission (EC) suggestions would create a final version that would be sent to the Government for adoption, Brnabic added.
Her call followed the warning from Serbia’s Association of Journalists (UNS) that the draft underwent severe changes that had not been discussed with the members of the working group, media and their associations.
“The idea is that together with my team I clearly understand your most serious remarks and this speed up the work after the EC opinion,” Brnabic wrote to UNS.
She added that the Government would not get the draft before the members of the working group and representatives of media and journalists’ associations were informed. Brnabic also said the draft was sent to the EC on May 17 and that its answer was expected by the end of July.
Zeljko Bodrozic, the President of the Independent Association of Serbia’s Journalists (NUNS), said he was surprised that Brnabic and her team was not clear what were NUNS’ comments of the rewritten Strategy’s draft which had been sent to the EC.
He added that NUNS and its partners would send the written remarks to Serbia’s Government by the end of the month.
However, Bodrozic reminded the Government that the changes put into the draft and the way they were included and then sent to Brussels were “absolutely unacceptable to NUNS.”
Bodrozic said that in the last two months since the Government sent the draft to Brussels, the TV channels with national frequency “non-stop broadcast inappropriate contents spiced with bestial political propaganda in favour of the authorities.
He added that tens of thousands of Euros were given to local media close to the ruling parties in several towns, and that the oppression of independent journalists continued across Serbia.
The EC 2019 report on Serbia's progress toward the European Union seriously objected the media situation in Serbia.