SERBIA: Warnings received by Serbian TV channel B92 over Belgrade port allegations

SERBIA, 28/05/2009

The South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO) has been informed that the Serbian TV channel B92 received warning letters from the lawyers of the Port of Belgrade days ahead of the broadcasting of the B92 programme, "Insider". The programme was nevertheless broadcast on 25 May 2009 and contained information referring to the Port of Belgrade, Serbia.

The legal representatives of the Port of Belgrade sent letters carrying the title "Warning", which stated that the facts broadcast in the programme about the Port were untrue and that the lawyers would not hesitate to take legal action against B92. An offer by the TV channel, made during the preparations for the programme, to invite a legal representative of the Port as a guest on "Insider" was declined.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic commented, "SEEMO condemns the warnings sent by the lawyers of the Port of Belgrade as a direct attack on the freedom to broadcast public information. Media outlets must have the right to report freely on all issues of public interest. SEEMO therefore urges the lawyers of the Port to stop exerting pressure on B92." Vujovic continued, "It is unfortunate that the lawyers of the Port of Belgrade declined the offer by B92 to speak during the programme, "Insider", as this would have be a perfect opportunity to have an open debate and for them to make their own case."

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