SERBIA: Serbian president's last-minute cancellation of interview with Austrian TV correspondent

SERBIA, SERBIA, 09/04/2009

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is disappointed to learn that on 6 April 2009 the Serbian President Boris Tadic cancelled at the last minute an interview with the accredited correspondent of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (TV ORF) in Serbia, Christian Werschuetz.

According to information before SEEMO, the interview between Tadic and Wehrschuetz was scheduled to take place before Tadic's visit to Austria, but was cancelled because one of the questions the journalist planned to ask was considered by the president to be inappropriate and unacceptable. SEEMO was surprised by the president's decision and criticised the practice of his office to ask journalists to provide their questions in advance of all interviews.

Commenting on the matter, Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, said:

SEEMO finds it surprising that the office of President Tadic asks journalists to provide their questions in advance of any interview and that in this particular case the interview was cancelled because of one question. We believe that journalists should be free to decide what kind of questions they would like to ask during an interview with politicians. Especially state officials should be open to answer questions, and should not base their decision on whether or not to grant an interview on the questions they demand to see in advance - a process of communication we consider unsatisfactory for the modern politician.

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