SERBIA: Pressure by the Serbian Parliament on Serbian Radio and Television (RTS)

SERBIA, 23/05/2003

To:

Ms. Natasa Micic
Acting President of Serbia and
President of the Parliament of Serbia

Belgrade
Serbia - Montenegro

Fax: + 381 11 682 850  

Dear Madame,

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the pressure currently being exerted by the Serbian Parliament on Serbian Radio and Television (RTS).

According to information before SEEMO, the Serbian Parliament has been pressuring RTS to transmit live sessions of Parliament as part of its programming schedule. In SEEMO's opinion, the pressure Parliament is applying on the company is incomprehensible and undemocratic. RTS is not obliged to transmit live transmissions of the parliamentary sessions and needs to have an independent editorial policy. SEEMO also supports the

transformation of RTS into a public broadcasting service, since it is a guarantee that the interests of citizens will prevail over those of politicians.

Therefore, SEEMO invites Parliament to found its own channel for live transmissions of parliamentary sessions and to finance this itself. Also, SEEMO asks Parliament to stop applying pressure on RTS, which, as a public broadcaster, should be able to apply its editorial decisions when reporting on government issues.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General

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