Journalist: Telekom & Telenor should be ashamed; Kellner throttles media freedom

NEWS 01.02.2021 14:10
Source: N1

The state-owned Telekom Serbia and Czech tycoon owned Telenor companies' deal which, according to the document N1 TV has access to, aimed at suffocating the United Group's SBB, won't be possible, regardless how much Serbia is a country of destroyed institutions and how little the world cares what is happening in Serbia, nova.rs website editor Milenko Vasovic has said on Monday.

„Something that is not natural, cannot long for last,“ he added.

The state-owned Telekom Serbia and the private Telenor mobile services provider have not denied reports of their agreement which would lead to the destruction of the SBB cable services provider.

Telekom Serbia would allow Telekom to use its resources and TV channels under the alleged agreement. Telekom has been accusing SBB of using media outlets against its competition while Telenor says that it will obey the law and has no new products or services to offer.

Telenor denied the merger, but Czeck media warned Kellner had been singled out as someone who throttles freedom of the media not just in Czechia and Serbia but also in Slovenia after he took over POP TV, a station with national coverage which Prime Minister Jansa called the strongest opposition party.

Similar talks were reportedly held between Kellner and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic.

They all are seen as good friends with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, criticised by the European Union for his autocratic behaviour.

However, Vasovic said he believed Telekom and Telenor would not quickly push SBB out of the media market, and that Serbia was matured enough to resist such a monopoly.

„You cannot destroy the competition… The creators of this (idea) should be ashamed; nowhere in the world would that happen without draconic penalties,“ he said.

He asked why „you want to squeeze someone out of the market? Tot take over their profit or their media space?“

The reported deal has prompted reactions by Serbia’s journalists, opposition leader and experts who all agreed the move was illegal, unprofessional, aiming only to provide the state-owned Telekom to take control of N1 and Nova S TV channels as only independent and unbiased electronic media in the country.

For its part, the United Group said it would file lawsuits before domestic and international judicial bodies and inform all relevant European Union institutions about Telekom-Telenor reported deal.