ARD: Western companies financing anti-Western media in Serbia

Many Serbian media outlets have been relentlessly spreading the Russian version of the war in Ukraine, campaigning against the European Union (EU) and the West, while Western companies in Serbia, including Germany, finance them through advertising, Germany’s public broadcaster ARD cautioned on March 15.

“Russia was forced into war,” “ethnic cleansing” happens in Ukraine, and “the West started the war in Ukraine,” are just a few of the headlines which, according to the ARD, have been promoted daily, with no counter-reaction, by the most popular print media and TV stations in Serbia. The station also said that the media that enjoy the support and backing of the Serbian authorities and disseminate such news include TV stations Pink, Happy, Prva and B92 and the tabloid dailies Informer and Vecernje Novosti.

The association of Germany’s regional public-service broadcasters went on to say on the ARD portal that “Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has largely masterminded the campaign, having placed most of the national media landscape under his control.” Quoting Belgrade’s CRTA NGO, the ARD says that an analysis of advertising campaigns by pan-regional broadcasters and newspapers in Serbia showed that 63 percent of income in that segment had come from EU, U.S. or Swiss companies. 

German MP Thomas Hacker believes that German companies should be more careful as to where they would place an ad. “Even if I were a company, I should consider the global situation as well. And then ask myself, what kind of propaganda I’m financing with my money,” Hacker said, adding that in Serbia, a fairly small state, the millions paid for that purpose certainly matter.

Boris Mijatović, a member of the Bundestag from the Green Party, assessed that the public should take such practices a little more seriously. “It is not in the interest of Western European politics to financially support pro-Russian narratives,” Mijatović said.

According to the analysis, the following companies spent the most on advertising on pro-government media – LIDL spent by far the most (about 54 million euros), followed by Bayerdsdorf (10.3 million), Glovo, which is part of the company Delivery Hero (5 million), Berlin Chemie AG (3.7 million), dm, Tys, Bayer and METRO (around 1 million each).

(Beta, 16.03.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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