The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), expresses concern at calls by individuals and some civil society organizations in Serbia to eliminate the license fee for the public broadcaster, Serbian Radio-Television (RTS). Advocates of the elimination of license fees quote the electoral promise of the recently elected president Tomislav Nikolic.
SEEMO considers that the elimination of license fees would open the door to political interference in the operation and programming of the public broadcaster: international experience has demonstrated that other sources of financing, as for example through the state budget or the parliament, cannot guarantee editorial independence. SEEMO recalls that public broadcaster is not a state or a party broadcaster.
“License fees are a guarantee that public broadcaster can remain independent, “said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General. “International experience shows that public broadcasters that depend on the parliament for their budget have problems serving the public. They have to comply with political demands,” he added.
“If the public is not satisfied with the quality of programming, there are other channels to demand better broadcasting, “said Oliver Vujovic