The position of Serbian journalists is “catastrophic”

The position of Serbian journalists is “catastrophic”

The populist regimes cannot stand pluralism; their leaders, instead, want to get rid of the media, with the exception of “microphone holders” who do not ask questions, said Zoran Stojiljkovic (photo), leader of the trade union “Independence”.

The situation with media and democracy in Serbia is very hard, added Stojiljkovic who is also professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Political Sciences (FPN).

Speaking on Friday at the Media Forum in Belgrade, Stojiljkovic focused upon the precarious work in the media, and the fact that journalist must have several jobs in order to live decently. He recalled that media does not represent an addition to democracy, but rather “constitutive part” of the modern democracy.

In his words, the Serbian government controls even social media, spreading its “bots” through them, “by acquiring, occupying different networks very effectively”.

The other participators at the Media Forum agreed that the “situation is getting worse year by year”. The media freedoms are endangered and public services has been turned into services of the government, they said. Therefore, dialogue is needed.

However, as Zeljko Bodrozic, head of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS) said, the attempts to set up a dialogue have been failing so far. The journalists do not want to take part in media reforms that are fruitless; such moves would mean “giving legitimacy to the government to keep undermining the media scene in Serbia”, Bodrozic underlined.

The media and journalist associations, and more often Western countries are warning the Serbian government that the position of journalists in the country is “catastrophic”; most of the media are used as propaganda tools, while the most of “free journalists” can barely make end meet and are affraid for they own well being, Bodrozic concluded./ibna