Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Thursday morning that her government would meet later in the day to revoke the decree banning anyone but the Crisis Staff from releasing information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Brnabic said that the decree was being withdrawn at the express request of President Aleksandar Vucic to avoid casting a shadow on everything that has been done so far.
She said the decree was taken to provide verified information to the public.
To illustrate the gravity of the situation, Brnabic quoted a tweet by N1 Program Director Jugoslav Cosic who wrote that “this is a state of emergency, not a state of war” saying: This is a state of war.
Vlada odlukom suspendovala sve državne izvore informacija osim štaba i sopstvenih saopštenja. Ovo je neodrživo. Jeste vanredno ali nije ratno stanje. Opasne su samo lažne informacije, tačne su za gradjane korisne. Nisu opasni izvori sami za sebe. Opasni su izvori lažnih vesti. pic.twitter.com/GQScPlJiQB
— Jugoslav Ćosić (@JugoslavCosicN1) March 31, 2020
Asked about the arrest of a Nova.rs journalist for reporting that the situation in the Vojvodina Clinical Center was bad, Brnabic said she regretted the arrest and added that she and the president do not want to see any critics of the authorities arrested. I will appeal against arrests even for lies, she said and appealed to journalists not to publish lies which attack the health care system.
I don’t want to give Tanja Fajon, Harlem Desire and others an excuse to citicize what Serbia has done she said and added that she thiks none of the organizations and people who criticized the government’s decision read the decree.