Antony Godfrey, the US ambassador to Belgrade, said on Friday that "independent and free media are the best cure for the health of democracy in Serbia," the Beta news agency reported on Friday.
In an interview with CorD magazine, the ambassador added that the US "is very worried" about the situation with the media in Serbia, but added that the relationship between the two countries was "excellent."
Godfrey said that Washington would not change its attitude toward Serbia regardless of who would be in the White House after the November presidential elections in the US.
He said his country did not attempt to hide any information and deficiencies there."In some countries, the authorities try to control the media, curb the flow of information and hide problems. They maybe want to create a fake image and reduce the threats from the novel virus, or to cover up corruption or ecology catastrophe. Or, they want to limit journalists to criticise governments, or aim at constraining the freedom of expression and religion," Godfrey told the magazine.
"Such a strategy can have tragic consequences because the truth always comes to light," he added.
Godfrey said that "hiding information undermines people's trust, democracy, stability and even security. It also creates possibilities for corruption and various abuses."
"Facing the truth and having free media can sometimes be inconvenient to some people, but that the road to better solutions," he added.
Speaking about Serbia, Godfrey said that "our common goal is the strengthening of democracy" in the country."Serbia constantly receives negative assessments in this area from the respectable international organisations like Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, OSCE, European Union and others. The tabloids persistently distort and cover-up information and casually report unfounded, sensational news placed by suspicious foreign sources. At the same time, different political views and stands the people in power dislike have little or no access to the majority of media," Godfrey said.
He added the pandemic negatively affected the world business, but that "it seems Serbia is in a better economic position compared to many other countries, thanks to wise fiscal and stable monetary policies."
Godfrey believes the US investors will see Serbia as a tempting environment for news businesses.