The German TV station, ZDF, has reported that passions are running high in Serbia because of a deal relating to the media market in which the last two independent TV stations are fighting for survival.
It quoted experts who said that the Serbian government wants more control of the media market and added that viewers probably won’t be able to learn about manipulation with the coronavirus pandemic figures as reported last summer by N1 “one of the last two independent TV stations in Serbia”.
ZDF also said that N1 and its cable provider fear that the state-controlled Telekom Serbia will corner them. “The state-run Telekom wants to destroy the independent media. We think our survival is in question,” N1 Executive Producer Igor Bozic said. He said the European Union should investigate the whole thing immediately if it considers Serbia as a candidate state.
The German station went on to say that the Telenor-Telekom deal was about economic and political influence since Telekom owns part of the cable network and wants to make a deal with Telenor in order to push independent TV stations out of the market, at least according to Telekom’s documents.
ZDF was told by officials at Telekom that Telekom Serbia simply wants more competition. They expressed regret over the fact that internal documents which contain what they said was “inappropriate language” were made public.
ZDF quoted ‘Reporters without Borders’ who said that the Serbian authorities under President Aleksandar Vucic have been increasing the pressure on independent journalists for a year, adding that Vucic and business circles close to him are controlling political reporting.
Experts quoted by the German station added that the goal of the authorities is to organize the media market in a way that favours the government.
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