The Serbian opposition block has announced a formation of a negotiation team that will talk to the authorities about three key points – throttled media, abuses by the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) and irregular elections which included the buying of votes, blackmail and use of force.
Those three points and the proposal to form a negotiation team were put forward by the signatories of the so-called Agreement with the People. The members of the team should, according to the proposal, be experts and non-partisan figures prepared to come up with a plan to resolve those three key issues which are “the key levers of Vucic’s dictatorship” and the causes of the crisis facing the country.
Democratic Party (DS) official, actor Branislav Lecic said that those three points are crucial, recalling that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called for a dialogue with political opponents.
He named the members of the team as Belgrade University School of Political Science professors Cedomir Cupic, Snjezana Milivojevic and Dusan Vucicevic, Dr Jovanka Matic, politicologist Boban Stojanovic, film director Srdjan Dragojevic, journalist Vukasin Obradovic and BIRODI (Social Research Bureau) expert Zoran Gavrilovic with the involvement of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) and Association of Independent and Electronic Media (ANEM).
Political analyst Djordje Vukadinovic says that all requests, including those regarding media freedom, are completely legitimate, especially in regard to REM.
“I have seen REM being transformed from an inert and inefficient body into an SNS institution, a much more militant and malignant one. Considering that we are living in an extraordinary situation, the opposition’s requests are also extraordinary. If that weren’t the case, there would be no tens of thousands of people on the streets, no protests, no demands,” concludes Vukadinovic.
Political analyst Boban Stojanovic thinks that all of the demands are realistic and that the media should be viewed in light of the electoral conditions, not as an attempt by the opposition to control the media.
“A good part of the problem with the electoral conditions is precisely because of the media – namely public broadcaster and TV stations with national frequency. Therefore, in order to have free and fair elections, the situation in the media must be normalized. REM must work according to law, as well as Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS),” Stojanovic says.
Another political analyst, Dejan Vuk Stankovic, however, thinks that it is not realistic that the authorities will meet these demands.
“It is not realistic to expect that the government will agree to do anything differently regarding REM and RTS. There are procedures and legal means how changes in these two organizations can be implemented. Secondly, it is impossible to impose anything on the government in a situation where you don’t have enough public support and not enough manoeuvring space. Thirdly, I think the SNS will propose to the opposition clock the same media conditions as it was back then when the SNS was in the opposition,” Stankovic concluded.
Stefanovic: We are forming a negotiation delegation
One of the members of the Alliance for Serbia, Borko Stefanovic, told N1 yesterday that an opposition delegation would be formed in the coming days which would engage in negotiations with the authorities in regard to media freedom and free and fair elections. “This delegation will be made up of representatives of opposition parties and non-partisan people,” Stefanovic said.
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