European Parliament’s proposal for fair elections in Serbia in 2022

The European Parliament (EP) members’ drafted document on election conditions in Serbia to which N1 had access to suggested equal access to media for all participants, balanced reporting and the integrity of the entire process as the main issues the authorities and opposition should agree on, but two main opposition parties said they were not satisfied.

In the first reaction to the EP draft, the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) leader Dragan Djilas said his organisation would not sign the document.

“The document we’ve received is not acceptable to Serbia’s people because it doesn’t offer clear mechanisms for the respect of law which must be implemented to ensure free elections. That’s why the SSP won’t sign the draft,” Djilas said.

A People’s Party’s deputy leader Miroslav Aleksic described the document as ‘generalised,’ but said it could be a basis for discussion.

The document drafted by MEPs, who mediated the negotiations between the Government and the opposition, also includes a supervisory body to control public broadcasters’ work and the development of rules for reporting during the election campaign.

The MEPs also emphasise that, providing political will, an agreement on election conditions can be reached within the inter-party dialogue and that they are ready to help achieve a deal.

However, they insist the outcome of the process depends on the participants in the dialogue.

Regarding Serbia’s media, the MEPs say they should report on the political programs of all parties in an adequate manner.

They also ask the media to publish their tariffs for political advertising before the start of the campaign. At the same time, the public broadcasters are required to provide media visibility and representation to all political options under identical conditions.

The MEPs say the media are obliged to provide balanced reporting and presentation of both opposition and the government views to ensure their diversity for the citizens to be fully and adequately informed.

To achieve equal media representation, the MEPs propose adopting new binding regulations for public broadcasters and establishing a temporary supervisory body consisting of the existing Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) members and representatives suggested by the dialogue participants.

(Vecernje Novosti, 07.09.2021)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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