Igor Bozic, N1 TV Executive Producer, said on Friday that #DaSeVidiN1 campaign was launched on social networks to inform people who could watch N1, that the issue wasn’t a commercial dispute between the United Group and Telkom Srbija, but about a million viewers who were deprived of unbiased, independent and professional reporting offered by N1.
The editor of Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) Branko Cecen told N1 that the TV was removed from the state operators’ offer because the authorities felt its popularity was falling while N1’s reputation was on the rise.
Bozic added that after the state operators’ decision to remove N1 TV from their offer, only a limited audience, the SBB subscribers, could watch our programs.
"That’s the main reason why we protest. We feel this war of statements between two groups hides the essence – that almost a million people are deprived of watching our programs which we believe are free, unbiased and independent journalism,” Bozic said.
He added he was sure that “we have greater audience and influence than some channels with national frequency. Every operator should air N1to be competitive. We report about what is happening 27/7; we offer time and space to all sides. The fact that representatives of the authorities don’t come to our studios is their choice, but we don’t avoid reporting on their activities. The viewers recognise that, and they trust us.”
Cecen added that since, as he said, the regime felt the fall in its popularity, and N1 was gaining it, President Aleksandar Vucic could not allow a single voice from reality in Serbia.
“The media scene is, to put it mildly, catastrophic. N1 is the only one carrying the investigative journalists’ discoveries dealing with important topics, issues some would like to hide… When we publish something like that, only N1 and some print media carry that. Others respect Omertà,” Cecen said.
Bozic said that put together the subscribers of Telekoms’ operators and Serbia' Post Office, which had earlier removed N1 from its offer, 300,000 households could not watch the TV’s programmes anymore.
"That is one-quarter of the audience we had so far,” Bozic said, recalling a situation from the 1990s when the then regime removed B92 Radio signal from the air and people protested, forcing the authorities to put the radio back on the air. “That’s what we want now.”
He said that the state-owned Telekom planned to open its news channel, what would violate the law and the European conventions.
Both Bozic and Cecen added that local media had been privatised by the tycoons close to the current regime, but were still financed from the budget through the project co-financing.