Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Thursday morning that the government would meet later in the day to revoke the decree banning anyone but the Crisis Headquarters from releasing information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Brnabic said that the decree would be withdrawn at the express request of President Aleksandar Vucic to avoid casting a shadow on everything that has been done so far.
She said the decree was adopted so that the public would be given only verified information.
Asked about the arrest of a Nova.rs journalist, Ana Lalic, who was detained for 48 hours by the police for reporting that the situation in the Vojvodina Clinical Centre was bad and that most staff are not properly protected against the coronavirus, Brnabic said she was sorry to see that a journalist had been detained and added that she and the president did not want to see journalists who were critical of the authorities arrested. “I will appeal against such arrests even if arrested journalists are reporting falsely,” she said and appealed to journalists not to publish false information which serves to attack the country’s health care system.
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“I will not give Tanja Fajon (a member of the European Parliament) an excuse so she can say that there is no media freedom in Serbia, at a time when Serbia has taught all the countries in Europe and the region a lesson in how to properly inform their citizens. I will not step over everything that Serbia has done so far in general for media freedom,” she concluded.
Asked by reporters whether what lies ahead for Serbian citizens in the fight against the coronavirus contagion is the introduction of a 24-hour-curfew or whether there are other measures that can be applied rather than the drastic one like the complete curfew, Brnabic said that “there are still other measures before the introduction of the 24-hour-curfew and some of these measures will be considered today”.
“People will be informed so they have plenty of time to organize themselves, there is no need to panic. Lack of discipline comes with a price. We said when we entered the fourth week of the epidemic that we needed iron-clad discipline. This contagion cannot be overcome by doctors, the health system, the Government, nor President of the Republic alone; we have to win together,” Brnabic said.
She also said that in the fight against the epidemic, Serbia was in a better position than many European and world countries, as well as the countries in the region.
“This is a serious battle and it is a state of war. When we talk about numbers, I would like to ask you to look at what they look like in Serbia compared to other countries in the region or much more developed and richer societies”.
This post is also available in: Italiano