The journalist of NIN weekly and one of the recipients of the Katarina Preradović Award for his professional, ethical and integrity standards, Vuk Cvijić, says that the pressure on journalists and the media is huge and that the situation is worse than under Slobodan Milošević’s rule.
“I don’t remember this kind of pressure being put on the media even when I compare it to the 1990s. It is obvious that this pressure is exerted by the government. We are now in a totally manipulative society where very few professional media exist. We live in an environment based only on manipulation and marketing where the media people serve to promote government, starting with the public broadcaster to which we all pay the subscription, ”said Cvijić.
He uses the example of Aleksandar Obradović, the Krušik whistleblower, to show how the government treats people who expose corruption.
“Corruption is not a problem for this government, but it becomes a problem when it is exposed. Krušik is one of the best examples of this. This case even made it to the European Commission’s report. Despite a formal investigation being launched a few months ago, still, nothing happened. It has been more than a year since the whistleblower was arrested, as a terrorist, while, to this day, those accused of corruption continue to live and work normally, “warns Cvijić.
He believes that in cases of high-level corruption, the relevant authorities rarely react, while the arrest of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture for accepting bribes is not enough to prove their transparency.
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“The Krušik case is a much bigger type of corruption. Companies, which had previously been very successful, are being destroyed. This situation does not only apply to Krušik, but to at least four or five factories of the arms industry. The director, who managed Krušik until 2018, is now the director of Zastava Oružje and is a member of the SNS. The executives of these companies are not fit to run them, and when they are suspected of corruption, they are simply transferred to run another company, “explains Cvijić.
He also estimates that there is a systemic problem in the excessive influence of politics on the police and on the courts in Serbia.
“We see that these institutions, and in particular the offices of justice and the courts, are not independent in their work, just as the police are not managed by professionals,” concluded Cvijić.
This post is also available in: Italiano