Serbian Prime Minster Ana Brnabic said on April 2 that the Serbian government will, before the Crisis Group meeting, retract its decision to centralize the distribution of information regarding COVID-19.
In an interview for the RTS public service, Brbanic said that the government’s decision, which stipulated that only the national Crisis Staff may issue information about the coronavirus epidemic, is to be withdrawn at the “explicit plea” of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
As a consequence, the government, according to her, will have to “fight a little harder against fake news.” “This is my foolishness and my fault we’ve made such a decision; it’s my fault that I haven’t explained it, and that we’ve cast a shadow over the really fantastic work we’ve done so far, and how we have and will continue to inform the citizens, and who gives out the information,” said Brnabic.
Brnabic expressed her regret over the detention of Nova.rs journalist Ana Lalic, adding that “spreading fake news during the state of emergency is a serious offence.” “I’ll personally make sure that this does not happen again,” the prime minister added.
The Serbian government had decided on March 28 to centralize the flow of information about the COVID-19 epidemic, meaning that only the national Crisis Staff was allowed to report on the outbreak, whereas “unauthorized persons” sharing information on health measures would be facing sanctions.
According to the Serbian Health Ministry’s report from April 1, Serbia has confirmed 1060 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths from complications caused by the virus.