Media monitoring body chief says things can’t change just prior to elections

NEWS 01.02.2022 09:54
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Source: N1

The chairman of the temporary media monitoring body formed as part of efforts to improve election conditions in Serbia told N1 that both the media and political players have been given guidelines for their behavior but warned that the body can’t change things just two months prior to the elections in April.

“We send the media guidelines on what to do and made an appeal to political players. Those are issues for the media, the authorities and political players,” Rade Veljanovski, a professor at the Belgrade University Faculty of Political Sciences, said on the Behind the News (Iza Vesti) talk show.

“If anyone thought that the Temporary Monitoring Body For the Media, which is not a regulatory body, could change things in just two months – God save us. The essence of the body is to appeal, advise, motivate and call for respect for the law,” he said, adding that the body does not have the authority to revoke anyone’s license. “I said that we might move things forward but that the effects will be visible after the elections,” he said.

He recalled that the authorities in Yugoslavia were very rigid towards critical media in the 1980s which did not stop some journalists from behaving like professionals. “There is none of that now. Journalists at the (state) Radio TV Vojvodina (RTV), Tanjug and state TV (RTS) have been thrown out and they wanted to do their job properly. I am calling journalists to change their behavior,” he said.

The forming of the Temporary Monitoring Body For the Media was agreed during the inter-party dialogue mediated by European Parliament officials as part of measures intended to improve election conditions in Serbia.