Stevanovic, a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (IJAS) Executive Board, warned that “we are in an evil period for the media with repeated pressure and attacks”. He illustrated the point with the example of ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) MP Nebojsa Bakarec creating infographics which he shares with everyone and says that journalists doing their job professionally are working against the state. Stevanovic said that creates a mood in which defending the state by attacking perceived enemies of the state and that includes journalists who are not to the liking of people in power.
He said that his job is not to support or oppose the authorities but to investigate everything they do, ask what could have been done better and whether the law was followed.
Stevanovic said that giving legitimacy to propaganda is a key problem as is the false division of the media into those pro and those against the authorities. “There are media trying to be professional and media engaged in propaganda,” he said, adding that state funds are diverted to propaganda media and their journalists are encouraged to continue down that path. According to him, that chain of support has to be cut in order to eliminate the divisions. “That situation is not good for anyone, not even for the people who think they enjoy unreserved support,” he added and warned that you can’t expect people to believe without questioning constantly repeated falsehoods.
Stevanovic said that independent and professional organizations, as well as individuals, failed to deal with the warmongers of the 1990s, including some who are working in the media or are in positions of power today.
He warned that the media are a very dangerous weapons when misused, citing the example of pro-government tabloids which, he said, spread hatred and motivate violence repeatedly, including against journalists who they see as rivals.
Stevanovic said that public figures should be accessible to journalists and added that he does not understand why Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that he would never appear on N1 TV. “His job is to answer questions from the public and there is a part of the public who see us as a source of information and his job is to answer our questions,” he said.