The worsening of the freedom of the media in Serbia is happening faster and faster under the current leadership, the Balkan Initiative for Freedom of the Media said in a Oct. 12 report and called on the EU to stop being a passive observer and increase its pressure on the authorities.
"Under the rule of Aleksandar Vucic, the room for the free activities of the media and alternative views of the government's narrative has considerably been reduced. The president has tightened his party's grip on the media sector and ensured that pro-government voices dominate the mainstream media through its influence over national broadcasters," the organization says in the report called, the Unseen Hand of Media Censorship in the Balkans which focuses on Bulgaria, Serbia and North Macedonia.
As an example, the organization said that during March representatives of the ruling parties appeared in 87 percent of prime time programs, while Vucic addressed the public almost every day for 29 days during the observed month. "All of the media outlets that criticize the government are constantly undermined through direct verbal and physical attacks, or through the manipulation of the commercial market by state agencies," the report, which will be presented on Oct. 12, says.
At the same time, the authorities are claiming to be ready and willing to reform the media sector, but are not taking any concrete steps in that direction. The report stresses that all major indices indicate a drop in the freedom of the media in Serbia under the current leadership, that the government is not applying existing media laws and that public broadcasters and the main regulatory body are subject to state control due to their financial dependence on the state and rules on appointing their members.