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01. 04. 2014

Research on Soft Censorship in Serbia Published

Belgrade, 1 April 2014 - 'Soft Censorship: Strangling Serbia's Media' is the title of the research published by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), in cooperation with the Center for International Media Assistance - CIMA.

The report describes the mechanisms of a growing "soft censorship" that denies Serbia's citizens their right to a free and independent media and offers recommendations that can

help dismantle these insidious practices.

Key conclusions of the research are the following:

  • It is estimated that the state participates with 23% to 40% in the actual value of the total advertising market.
  • Direct subventions which the state gives to the media in its ownership seriously undermine free competition in the market.
  • State advertising is arbitrary and non-transparent, and it is easily turned into a mechanism of political pressure on the media.
  • State aid to the media should turn towards project financing, especially co-financing of news content.
  • Amendments to the law on advertising should include fines for state bodies and officials who violate the ban on using public funds for the promotion of individual or special political interests.

The main researcher on the project is Jovanka Matić, PhD. The project is supported by Open Society Foundations.

The report in English can be downloaded here.

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