Are tabloids going to be cut off from the state’s funds?

If a new law is adopted, tabloids in Serbia, which are known for their frequent violations of the Law on Public Information and the Journalist Code, will not be allowed to participate in national and local public tenders for state funding in the future.

Namely, the segment of the draft law that the members of the Working Group for amending the law are arguing about is the status of the Press Council, which media associations want to have greater powers, in the sense that the Council’s decisions will be binding in the future allocation of financial resources.

If the Working Group gives a green light to this proposal, tabloids like Informer, Alo, Srpski Telegraf and others will no longer be able to participate in state-funded media competitions.

The fact that 9 members of the Working Group come from the media world and 11 are state representatives could pose a problem in deciding whether the draft law could be adopted. Bearing in mind that the tabloids that frequently violate journalistic rules of conduct are usually pro-regime, the question is whether this request of media experts will even be even included in the legislation.

The Working Group is due to present its decision by February 10th.

Journalist Nedim Sejdinović believes that it is unrealistic to expect that a provision on binding criteria for compliance with the Journalist Code when it comes to awarding of state funds will be included in the Law on Public Information and Media, especially the provision according to which the existing Press Council will be the exclusive body that will decide who has violated the Code and to what extent.

“Even if this provision is included in the draft law, it will probably be changed at higher decision-making levels. To remind, one of the criteria for the allocation of state funds has been compliance with the Code, and yet the funds were allocated almost exclusively to media outlets that do not adhere to the Code when it comes to providing objective information. Therefore, if the draft law is adopted in the National Parliament, there are mechanisms in place to circumvent it,” says Sejdinović.

(Danas, 24.01.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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