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25. 05. 2015


Belgrade, 25.5.2015. - The coalition of journalists' and media associations, comprised of UNS, NUNS, NDNV, Local Press and ANEM, is concerned by illegal actions during the implementation of the competition for co-financing media content in Sombor, Kladovo and Malo Crniće. The Coalition requests the reaction of the Ministry of Culture and Information

In Sombor, the selection panel was established illegally. In lieu of representatives nominated by journalists' and media associations, the majority of members are „media experts" unknown to the expert public. They awarded the funds to a company from Apatin the bank account of which has been blocked more than 11 months; the headquarters of the company is on the territory of the City of Sombor, which is contrary to the rules that the very city prescribed. The Apatin-based company „Unija plus" is owned by Ilija Bursać from Apatin who belongs to the same political party as the mayor of Sombor. The coalition of journalists' and media associations points out that the City of Sombor violated the Law also by stating as one of the criteria that a participant in the competition must have headquarters in the territory of Sombor; the coalition stresses that the City of Sombor has been warned of this, but it nevertheless awarded the funds to a media outlet from another municipality.

Decision of the Municipal Council in Malo Crnice annuled the competition in which the selection panel had already awarded funds based on received project proposals. In its official explanation to the competition participants, the Municipal Council stated „insufficient funds" as a reason, while the reason stated in statements to the media was that „it is not in public interest of the citizens of the Malo Crnice Municipality". The coalition of journalists' and media associations notes that only selection panels, and not the municipal authorities, are authorized by Law to assess which projects meet citizens' public interest.

In Kladovo, due to a mistake of the selection panel, funds were awarded to an intermediary with the aim to trick the competition. The project of the Agency East Media is, in fact, the project of the Public Enterprise „ŠRIF" from Bor. It is clear from the documentation that technical and human resources of this public enterprise are being engaged. The coalition of journalists' and media associations notes that it is legally forbidden that media funded from public income, which is the case with the PE „ŠRIF" from Bor, participate in any way in the public competitions for co-financing media content.

The coalition of journalists' and media associations closely monitors the process of co-financing media content and requests from the Ministry of Culture and Information to react to all cases of the violation of the Law. The Coalition will comprise all identified irregularities in a document at the end of 2015, which document will be submitted to all relevant domestic and international institutions that deal with the fight against corruption and freedom of expression.

Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM)

Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia (NUNS)

Journalists' Association of Serbia (UNS)

Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina (NDNV)

Business Association "Local Press"

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