Radio Television of Serbia employees express dissatisfaction with public service’s reporting

Photo: Marko Miletić / Mašina

Radio television of Serbia (RTS) employees belonging to the branch trade union for culture, art and media “Nezavisnost” (Independence) condemned the alienation of the public broadcaster from the citizens, its misuse for the purposes of biased political promotion, and simultaneous blocking of all opponents and criticizers of the contemporary Serbian regime. In their public statement members of Nezavisnost demand that the board of RTS finds a way “to adjust the media company’s reporting with professional standards of informing” ASAP, e.i. “immediately”.

Refering to the on-going mass protests in Serbian cities, the trade union reminded that RTS had been in a similar position less than two decades ago:

For the second time in a generation we are witnessing the same scenario, in which elementary and obvious truth ceases to be referential, giving way to the interest of the state authorities.

As they said, they refuse to allow this media company to once again “provoke the rage of public unable to tolerate such media pressure on the part of its own public service”.

RTS employees belonging to “Nezavisnost” trade union demand that the management of the company starts respecting standards of professional journalism, allow proportional presence to all political actors, stop glorifying actions of the state authorities, and ignoring contemporary political reality.

We won’t allow any further divisioning of the people, that could lead to unforeseeable concequences and confrontations. Our media house, the Radio Television of Serbia, mustn’t contribute to such scenarios ever again.

They remind that the public service is financed by all Serbian citizens, belongs to everyone, reminding also the directors and editors of the current affairs section that they “have no right to impose such destructive practices on the very being of RTS and the people who are humiliated by such informing”.

The trade union considers expressing a clear political stance to be a basic obligation of all in a time when politics and its protagonists threaten their existence and livelihood. As members of a media trade union with various media professionals under its wing, they consider their duty to warn that RTS is, in their opinion “sliding towards an unsustainable version of raw propaganda”.

Bureau for Social Research recently monitored the way TV companies covering the territory of Serbia reported on rallies and confrontations between the establishment and the opposition. The monitoring showed that RTS backed out when it comes to “extent and thematic framework” of informing, while giving twice as more space to the protests in other parts of Europe than to those in Serbia.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was originally published in Serbian on Jan 26, 2019.

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