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05. 04. 2012

Media coalition: Government should not be a savior of futile state companies

The media coalition on Prime Minister's statement on Tanjug loan

Belgrade, April 5, 2012 - Media Coalition - NUNS, UNS, ANEM, NDNV and Local Press - note that the recent statement of the Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic in Leskovac that the Government has granted a short term loan of 17.5 million RSD to Tanjug to pay off its older loans, is contradictory to the Conclusion of the Government the money was granted to this state-owned news agency for the reporting on the election campaign and election day.

Media Coalition believes that both reasons are utterly contentious and unacceptable. There is no single economic, political or public interest of the Government in rescuing failed state companies that are mainly financed from the state budget, such as Tanjug, nor there is reason to give more money to a state agency for something that is its core function and for which it receives more than 200 million dinars a year.

This contradiction only confirms the fear of the Media Coalition that political motives for even greater influence on this agency's editorial policy are in fact what lies behind the decision of the government to grant interest-free loan the state agency. This opens the space for the state, or parties comprising the ruling bloc, to influence the course of the campaign, by using money from the budget.

Media Coalition recalls that there are two more news agencies in Serbia, operating on the market and to which such loans are not available. The Coalition also notes that by acting so, the state is systematically violating the equality of participants in the media market.

This is completely contrary to the principles of the Media Strategy, which the Serbian Government adopted last year.

Thus, the systematic suppression of the media that are not owned by the state continues, with the aim to establish a monopoly of the media sphere.

The decision on granting an interest-free loan is all the more contentious, given that Tanjug is announcing, in cooperation with CeSID, the "Election Day" and VIP cocktail reception on May 6, in his Press Club, which costs are entirely covered by sponsors.

Journalists' Association of Serbia, UNS

Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia, NUNS

Association of Independent Electronic Media, ANEM

Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina, NDNV

Association of Local Publishers, Local Press

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