The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is concerned about political pressure on editors and journalists of Magyar Szo, the only daily in Hungarian language in Vojvodina, Serbia.
In February 2010, the Hungarian National Council in Vojvodina announced that Magyar Szo does not serve the Hungarian community in Serbia properly due to the bad editorial policy of the daily and therefore needs to be put back on the right track through regulation of the editorial policy by a special advisory body that would monitor the reporting of the paper.
In response to the Council's decision, on 2 March 2010, the members of the editorial board of Magyar Szo published a statement presenting their unanimous dissatisfaction with the decision of the Hungarian National Council and considering the proposed regulation of the editorial policy as censorship and a limitation of the freedom of objective public information.
SEEMO Secretary Oliver Vujovic said: SEEMO is worried about the political pressure on the daily Magyar Szo, exerted by the Hungarian National Council. SEEMO would like to remind the Hungarian National Council that journalists and editors must work independently, and that no additional bodies should have any responsibility over the reporting.
Vujovic added: It is very important to maintain a free and independent editorial policy. Such an advisory body violates the principles of media freedom and introduces clear censorship by a group of persons from the Hungarian National Council in Vojvodina. It must also be clear that the daily Magyar Szo cannot and should not report in the interest of the Hungarian National Council or in the interest of certain Hungarian parties in Vojvodina. The newspaper must be free to represent points of views of all members of the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina. This paper is not a party newspaper; it is clearly a newspaper for members of the Hungarian minority
Finally, SEEMOsupports the newsroom and editors of Magyar Szo, as well as the Journalists' Association of Serbia (UNS), the Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia (NUNS) and the Independent Journalists' Organisation of Vojvodina (NDNV) in their statements given in connection with this case.
*** For further information, please contact:
SEEMO Press Freedom Coordinator
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)