A total of 139 members of the academic community in Serbia has signed a document demanding from public broadcaster RTS to “ensure unbiased reporting on all affairs which seriously undermine the foundations of the state and have the potential to jeopardize the necessary progress on the way to a civilized world,” Belgrade daily Danas reported on Jan. 21.
In the document, the academic community members, among other things, said that they “are aware of the fact that it is unnecessary to elaborate on what professional and impartial reporting means,” adding they “have no intention or interfering into the editorial policy.”
The academic community members further said they expected and demanded from RTS “to, in all prime time news programs, cover in an impartial manner all the affairs involving arms maker Krusik, cannabis farm Jovanjica, the Belgrade Waterfront project, tearing down buildings in Belgrade’s Savamala district, “aunts in Canada” (involving Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin), fake university diplomas and PhD degrees, the environmental disaster, and also the affairs involving millions amassed by opposition leader Dragan Djilas and Bosko Obradovic’s position on the ideology of Dimitrije Ljotic (nationalist politician who collaborated with German occupational authorities during World War II), as well as other ongoing and future affairs, primarily implicating the ruling and opposition parties.”
The document also demands from RTS, as evidence of its desire to transform into “a true public broadcaster,” to launch “a new debate program to address the issues of public concern.”
“We deeply believe that what we demand from you entails the fundamental legacy of social development” and “failure to meet the demand to ensure impartial reporting to Serbia’s citizens, as envisaged by journalism principles and standards, would demonstrate that your goal is something else – manipulation of public opinion.”
The demand forwarded to RTS has been signed by professors, docents and principal research fellows of the Universities of Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad, the University of Arts in Belgrade, and others.