Participants in the 360 Degrees talk show warned that the Telekom Serbia is illegally planning to set up its own news channel in cooperation with Euronews to replace N1 in the offer of state-owned cable operators.
Dragan Popovic, head of the Center for Practical Policies, and Zeljko Bodrozic, president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), said that the Telekom plans are illegal because the law prohibits the government and state-owned companies from having their own media.
Telekom Serbia said in July last year that it would launch a news channel and Euronews Serbia digital platform with Euronews. Speculation has appeared that the new channel is intended to replace N1 in the offer of Telekom’s subordinate cable operators.
“If the money comes from Telekom, it is a state-owned TV and that is forbidden by law,” Popovic said. He recalled that the media laws adopted during the process of accession to the European Union was created to take the state out of the media gradually. Instead we have a return of the state, he added.
“The Euronews thing is very dangerous. The Gradjanske Inicijative NGO warned that EU money cannot be used to finance violations of the law. “The European Commission and European Parliament would be directly accountable. Let’s stop something illegal,” he said. Popovic warned of what he called unbearable tolerance for violations of the law. “We have become a ‘so what’ state in which top officials react to obvious violations of the law by saying So What,” he said and warned that the public will stop respecting any law. “There are violations of the law at every step and all we have to say to that is: Well, OK, we expected it,” he added.
Bodrozic said that the editorial policy of the TV channel which will allegedly replace N1 is something expected. “The two TV stations bought with the money of the citizens (Prva and O2), I believe are seeing a drop in ratings because they are pale copies of what we see on TV Pink,” he said and added that he thinks the idea is to create a congestion on the media scene.