Millions from the budget for the worst media in the country, the state is not doing anything to stop it
(Source: Cenzolovka ) – The report of the Press Council on co-financing media that violate ethical standards showed that most commissions that allocate money from the budget do not care about the rules, and hand out money to the media that violate the Code on a daily basis. Despite the Ministry supervising the implementation of laws and regulations, the State Secretary claims that it has no influence on local governments
Like the previous four, this year, the competitions for co-financing media projects continued to finance tabloids and media that violate the Journalists’ Code – despite violating the rules prescribed by the state.
The commissions, composed of suspicious media experts and representatives of unknown journalist associations, in many cases did not take into account the measures imposed by regulatory bodies on certain media, but, on the contrary, rewarded them with millions for violating professional norms and ethics.
These issues were addressed by the Press Council in the report “Co-financing of media that violate ethical standards” , which showed that out of a total of 183 competitions, as much as 86 money was awarded to media that violated the Code one or more times: daily tabloids Informer, Kurir, Alo , Večernje novosti, then Afera, Glas Zapadne Srbije, Ozonpress, portals Republika, Srbija danas, epancevo.rs.
These media did not receive money for a total of 30 competitions, but only in three cases is there a clear explanation that the projects were rejected due to the measures taken by the Complaints Commission of the Press Council.
The portal epancevo.rs had the most violations of the Code, which, according to the report of the Press Council, earned 8,660,000 dinars on six projects. The council issued as many as nine warnings to him during the last year due to a months-long chase against the Pančevo journalist Nenad Živković , for which he sued them. In two competitions, the tabloid Alo received 5.9 million dinars, and the Informer 5.5 million for 11 projects.
The report singles out the Municipality of Kovacica and the City of Belgrade as examples of bad practice, because despite the information from the Press Council that certain media violated the Code, they awarded millions to those who constantly violate ethical and professional rules. Thus, the Municipality of Kovacica awarded the portal epancevo.rs 1,960,000 dinars, and the City of Belgrade gave the tabloid Alo 5,500,000 dinars – despite six violations of the Code.
Commission members need training
Gordana Novakovic, secretary general of the Press Council, told Cenzolovka that the idea of the Council was to determine whether and to what extent the commissions take into account the opinion of the Press Council, ie whether the allocation of funds is influenced by the Press Council’s warning. Of the 139 municipalities that announced competitions in 2019, 84 of them sought the opinion of the Press Council, but in most cases the commissions did not take into account the fact that the media violated the Code of Journalists of Serbia, sometimes multiple times.
“It turned out that all the media that were punished received money – some more, some less. The most drastic example is the Pancevo portal epancevo.rs. However, there are differences, and we are not in favor of eliminating the Code once and doing everything to prevent it from happening again, completely, because a mistake can happen to anyone. The point is that there is a provision in the Rulebook which states that it is specifically assessed whether the media has taken measures not to repeat the mistake, but if someone has been punished nine times in a few months, it is obvious that he has not taken anything, “Gordana points out. Novakovic.