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04. 05. 2015

World Press Freedom Day marked

4.5.2015. (Tanjug, B92) - BELGRADE -- The Independent Journalist Association of Serbia (NUNS) called on media professionals to engage in "Five Minutes of Thunderous Silence" on Sunday.

According to NUNS, they would thus "oppose the further humiliation of their profession."

On the occasion the World Press Freedom Day, NUNS called on all journalists and electronic media to stop their work for five minutes on May 3 at 11:55 a.m. CET, as "a warning about the deteriorating position of journalism in Serbia."

"The government in Serbia stifles critical reporting, while different, especially financial pressures undermine the independence of the editorial policy of the media," NUNS stated.

Last year hundreds of media workers have lost their jobs, and thousands of them, even in profitable media companies have humiliating low wages, the statement reads.

According to a Reporters without Borders' report for 2014, Serbia is ranked 67 on the world list of press freedom out of a total of 180 countries.

"Unconditional support"

The Ministry of Culture and Information expressed on Saturday its unconditional support for the freedom of media, adding it strongly opposes all forms of threats, pressures and endangering the safety of journalists.

"Characteristics of every, including the most developed democratic society, is to continuously fight for the freedom of media, but also for high standards of professional, responsible and impartial journalism," Minister of Information Ivan Tasovac said on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.

Ministry of Culture and Information and the Serbian government strongly support principles and standards of the freedom of media and expression, which the UN General Assembly, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE included among their priorities with strategic documents and conventions, reads the ministry's statement, adding that this year Serbia welcomes May 3 with the new media regulatory framework.

The ministry at the same time insists that all unsolved cases of threats, attacks and murders of journalists in Serbia are investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.


Serbian Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic said in a statement on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day that Serbia cannot take pride in the media freedom, or the financial situation of journalists in the country.

"The World Press Freedom Day, May 3, is marked this year with a muted sense of satisfaction, as the adoption of the new media laws remains in the shadow of the tabloidization of Serbia and a continued pressure on independent media and journalists," said Jankovic.

Extending his best wishes to all media professionals on their day, Jankovic pointed to their professional, social and constitutional obligation to inform the citizens truthfully, fully and objectively, despite all hardships.

Jankovic stressed that the government should ensure the conditions for their free and unimpeded work in practice and not only on paper.

The set of new media laws, which met with approval both in the country and abroad, has still not achieved the desired results in practice, said Jankovic.

"Under pressure"

The Kosovo media are still subjected to political and economic pressure, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo Jean - Claude Schlumberger said on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Sunday.

"Despite some progress in addressing cases involving attacks against journalists, the media continue to be subjected to political and economic pressure, while journalists continue to be intimidated and threatened, which further undermines the freedom of expression and free media in Kosovo," Schlumberger said in a release.

Stressing that unfettered and professional media are key for democratic development of Kosovo, Schlumberger urged the Kosovo institutions to guarantee the freedom of expression and freedom of the media, and to provide for a safer working environment for journalists to inform the public timely and objectively, the release states.

The number of "attacks, threats and smear campaigns against journalists" in Kosovo remains high, said Schlumberger, adding that 24 such cases were reported in 2014, and up to ten until April 2015.

"I strongly condemn these attacks and threats against journalists, as well as any type of influence on independent media," said Schlumberger.


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