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Media group condemns news outlets' campaigns against Serbian broadcasting agency

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The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) condemns excessive statements that are placed via foreign news agencies concerning the repeated public competition for a license to broadcast television programs with national coverage. It also condemns the campaign conducted on a program of the cable channel TV Nova against the Republic Broadcasting Agency (RBA) and its decision.

ANEM points out that anyone's personal dissatisfaction with the results of the competition does not justify unilateral and repeated attacks against institutions. The Law on Broadcasting foresees that those dissatisfied by the RBA decisions have the right to submit a complaint to the Agency itself, and in case of rejection of the complaint, they have the right to initiate a lawsuit before a court in an administrative dispute. Media attacks in place of complaints and lawsuits in a procedure based on law only strengthen the suspicion that those behind these attacks have no arguments of legal nature. We consider one-sided attacks of this kind against institutions to be an impermissible pressure against bodies that should make a decision based on the law in a legally regulated procedure, whether it is the RBA itself during the complaint procedure, or the court. We also consider unilateral attacks to be violations of the provisions of the Code of Conduct for Broadcasters by those permit holders who are participating in such campaigns.

ANEM reminds that it has opposed the calling of the previous and the repeated competition for granting a license to broadcast television programs with national coverage, because it was of opinion that the competition threatens the digitization process, and that it was implemented without a valid broadcasting development strategy and according to an outdated law expected to be changed. Unfortunately, the repeated public competition for granting a license to broadcast television program with national coverage ended with the RBA decision which is not a result of taking into account ANEM's arguments.

Despite everything, ANEM calls on its members, but also on other broadcasters in Serbia, to refrain from unilateral media attacks against the broadcasting agency, and to express possible dissatisfaction with the decisions of the regulator in a manner prescribed by law, and not by abusing the fact that they broadcast programs and in that way influence the public opinion. Conduct different from the above explained, after the RBA has already made its decision on the competition, and the deadlines for filing complaints are current, is nothing less than inappropriate and unacceptable pressure against institutions.

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