Journalist Djordje Vlajic told N1 Belgrade on Saturday that N1 television is perceived as a kind of political opponent and a threat to the authorities (in Serbia) because it destroys the idealized image that the government is spreading about living conditions in Serbia.
"From the point of view of common sense and the need for the people to be well informed, the exclusion of N1 (from all major cable networks in Serbia) is unreasonable, it is an attack on the public interest," Vlajic said.
Referring to the #LetN1TVbeSeen initiative, launched after N1 was excluded from a state-owned cable operator and the support the initiative received from a large number of citizens and public figures, Vlajic said that "no matter how much state-owned enterprises or the government, hid behind something that one could call doing business, it undoubtedly a political act aimed at minimising N1's reporting on living conditions in Serbia.
"It's been obvious and blatantly clear for a very long time, that the authorities and especially (Serbian President) Mr. (Aleksandar) Vucic did not like what N1 was doing, which is why he called N1 different names. I think what they are doing now is breaking the law somehow, because the existence of media is a public interest here, and this type of suppression of media freedoms is a serious violation of the public interest. Several laws regulate the public interest, and media laws contain the European acquis in part," he said.
Vlajic pointed out, however, that this exclusion is not unexpected.
"When the authorities don't know what they're going to do, they pull their batons out and beat their opponent. N1 is that opponent now and their business baton is beating your backs... Maybe one of the SNS sympathizers, looking at something you're doing, gets upset and realizes that what the government presents to him as reality is not quite so," Vlajic told N1.
He added that there is no question that any suppression of media freedom destroys media freedoms.
"This is something that will narrow the space for any kind of critical thinking. N1 is seen as a kind of political adversary and a threat to the government because it breaks down this idealized image that the government is spreading about life in Serbia," Vlajic said.