The Serbian Commissioner for public information on Friday denied claims by a government agency that his office paid two private news agencies.
Responding to a question from the officially defunct state-owned Tanjug news agency, Commissioner Rodoljub Sabic said that his office had made no payments into the accounts of the privately-owned FoNet and Beta news agencies.
Tanjug was officially closed down in November 2015, when a government decision on its closure was published in the Official Gazette but has not stopped working. Tanjug (short for Telegraph Agency of the New Yugoslavia) was formed during WW 2 in 1943 as the official news agency of Yugoslavia. Journalist and media organizations have been questioning the manner in which it has been financed in the past three years.
Sabic’s statement said he welcomes and supports every show of interest in how public funds are spent. “I am informing you that the office of the Commissioner did not make any payments, on any basis, into any account of the news publishing company FoNet and the Beta Press News Agency in the designated period (November 1, 2017-November 1, 2018),” he said.