Comment 10 Nov 15

Serbia’s Tabloids: Freedom Fighters or Warring Tycoons?

The war between Serbian tabloids Informer and Kurir went nuclear when one accused the other of racketeering - but are claims that it’s a dispute about media freedom true?

Slobodan Georgiev
BIRN
Belgrade

The battle between the two scandal sheets intensified at the weekend when the editor and the owner of Informer, Dragan J. Vucicevic, produced a special programme on Serbia’s TV Pink accusing the owner of Kurir, Aleksandar Rodic, of racketeering.

TV Pink hosted the programme because Mr Vucicevic has a talk show on the channel called ‘Teska rec’ - ‘Hard Talk’ - which has nothing in common with famous BBC series.

So on November 8, TV Pink, which has a national frequency in Serbia and is owned by famous media tycoon Zeljko MItrovic, broadcast a four-hour live programme, the highlight of which was Mr Vucicevic interviewing Miroslav Bogicevic, a bankrupt Serbian businessman who said that he gave one million euros to Mr. Rodic, owner of Kurir, in order to buy shares in Serbian daily newspaper Politika from German company WAZ. 

Mr Vucicevic, who used to work as a journalist and editor at Kurir, brought to the TV Pink studios various experts and journalists to appear on his show: a kind of reality programme which was perhaps intended to end with the arrest of Mr Rodic.

The public had the opportunity to hear Mr Bogicevic, once a very important figure in Serbian business life, admitting that he gave a million euros in cash to Mr Rodic to become a shareholder in Politika.

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