A document has appeared in public which raised suspicion that party and state official were exerting pressure in a hamlet in Banat for the business interests of the state-owned telecommunications operator Telekom Serbia.
Some of the residents of the hamlet of Plandiste outside the town of Vrsac told N1 that there has been political pressure exerted on them to change to the “state network” while the local opposition said that the top municipal officials have been engaged in the affair.
A Plandiste municipality employee who insisted on anonymity showed us a document which he said is authentic stating that all public services employees in Plandiste were asked to change to the MTS cable network at home and to encourage and pressure their friends and acquaintances to do the same and were given the same instructions – don’t let anyone know that this is a political mission.
One of the Plandiste residents said that there was pressure: “They did what they did (…) The simply force you to sign the contract and then they …. I won’t say what.”
Several locals that N1 spoke to said that they have been inundated with calls to considering changing cable operators: “Yes they did and we did”. “They came here, they did”. “I went (to a presentation)”.
N1 asked Plandiste municipality Mayor Jovan Repac (a member of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party – SNS) about the instructions which have leaked onto social networks. We got no reply.
Lawyer Danilo Lukic, who heads the local civil opposition group named For a Better Plandiste, said that a large number of local people had Total TV which allowed them to see a different image of reality and that the goal of the authorities is to change that. “I received information last week that the municipal Mayor Jovan Repac called a meeting with his associates, the heads of public and communal services companies telling them to call everyone they know to change to MTS to stop them from from watching N1 and Nova,” Lukic said.
Individuals have claimed on social networks that the party efforts to impose MTS on the public are underway in Novi Sad, Vrbas and other places. N1 TV is part of the United Group which includes the SBB cable operator and Total TV.