21 march

Oppisition TV channel blames watchdog council for being anti-democratic

The Accent-TV channel has expressed indignation about the actions of the Audiovisual Coordinating Council (ACC), which announced a “public warning” claiming that the channel “lacks balance and socio-political pluralism in its information programs”.

Accent-TV wrote in its statement today that ACC members are irritated with the fact that political figures from the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition receive a greater attention in the channel’s news than the parties of power.

“Besides this, the ACC is discontented with the light, in which we present the opposition’s activities, whereas the authorities are constantly criticized”, wrote Accent-TV, which perceives the ACC decision as “a direct pressing on the journalists’ mission to criticize the authorities and make them act in the society’s interests”.

“By punishing journalists for this, the ACC seeks to tame the press and remove from screens all the authorities’ drawbacks and errors. In other words, in the election year, the ACC has become a censorship instrument, acting as a political aid-man, which shields the information area from opinions that do not coincide with the authorities’ opinion”, wrote the television channel.

Accent-TV drew attention to the fact that the ACC decision appeared on the following day after the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, had spoken out critically about the ACC activities, having reminded that the Coordinating Council’s mission in the television and radio sphere is to be a mediator, not certainly to service the interests of business circles or political parties.

Yet another channel, JurnalTV, has sent a letter to ACC and also accused it of censorship and suppression of the freedom of expression.

On Wednesday, the Audiovisual Coordinating Council made public warnings to the said two channels, accusing them of same sins – non-observance of “socio-political balance” and lack of pluralism in news programs.

ACC carried out its monitoring of the two channels on January 10 through 19. And on March 19, the Council presented its report, saying that a greater part of the news and information time the channel devotes to the opposition Communist Party, portraying its positively. Other parties, such as the Democratic Party, Liberal Democratic Party and Liberal Reformist Party [forming the governing coalition] and the Liberal Party, were presented mostly negatively.