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News 09 Sep 14

Censorship Rife in Serbian Media, Survey Says

A survey conducted by a prominent German foundation said there was a high level of censorship and a lack of objectivity and criticism in the Serbian media's work.



More than 90 per cent of Serbian journalists who took part in the survey published by Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on Monday said that censorship and self-censorship in Serbian media do exist.

The great majority of journalists, 73 per cent, said that Serbian media do not report objectively, while 95 per cent of journalists believe that media reporting is not critical. Ninety per cent also said that media are not analytical.

“It is more and more obvious that the media is drifting further away from its basic duty of informing the public and moving closer to becoming a means of propaganda,” Aleksandar Popovic from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung told a conference in Belgrade.

She added that journalists “consciously distance themselves from their professional standards”.

However, Popovic believes that state institutions that fail to protect the media’s freedom of expression are to blame as well as journalists themselves.

Popovic said that the current problems of Serbia’s media could be an obstacle to the country’s progress towards EU integration and that state institutions, including government, must be more open to cooperation with the media.

Zoran Gavrilov, an analyst from the think tank Bureau for Social Research, said that Serbia’s media often base their stories on one source only, while other sources, if they exist, only serve to support the initial thesis.

Gavrilovic also said that after the government changed in 2012, media started to interview different experts to analyse the situation in the country, reflecting the views of the new authorities.

Media experts at the conference agreed that recently-adopted media laws would do little to improve the grim situation in Serbian media.

Tamara Skroza, a journalist at weekly magazine Vreme, said that it was absurd to adopt a new set of laws at a time when professional ethics were disappearing, and political and financial pressures on media were mounting.


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