Serbia PM’s truth far from reality witnessed by journalists

photo: N1

On Sunday, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic dismissed the allegations that journalists were “locked up” during the recent presentation of the Digital Europe program in Belgrade as “manipulation of tycoon media.”


She told Prva Television that the journalists „were not locked in“ and that „at any moment“ they could leave the hall where the program was presented.


„I was shocked when I saw that piece, and then even more [shocked] when I saw that it went on for days and became the main topic. They knew that there were no questions after the event, and they could leave during the event itself because that door was not locked,“ the Prime Minister said.


She assessed that it was a „monstrous accusation“ by the media owned by Dragan Solak. „They tended to film only that corner so that people would get the impression that they were locked in that little room. It’s unbelievable that journalists agree to such manipulations,“ the Prime Minister added.


She noted that questions from journalists were not planned at the presentation of the Digital Europe program so that „we would not deviate from the important topic“.



N1: Instead of apologizing, the Prime Minister hides behind semantics


N1 is equally shocked that the Prime Minister of Serbia, although faced with a clear video showing that journalists are prevented from moving, which has been condemned by both international and domestic journalistic organizations, hides behind semantics instead of apologizing.


Whether the journalists were prevented from leaving the room by a tab in the lock or by a person on the other side of the door who did not allow them to open them, the term „locked“ equally describes the term „locked in“. However, in the context of that situation, but also of the position of the professional media, the attitude towards the critical public and the degree of democracy, surely the term „locked in“ was better suited?


N1 points out that freedom of the press implies that journalists, without the influence of executive power, can judge for themselves what is an important topic. By limiting the topics on which the Prime Minister wants to communicate with journalists, she speaks about the level of understanding of journalistic freedoms.


The journalists from N1 and Nova who reported on the mentioned event said that the government representatives and guests came out on one side and that they found the door locked.


„A person, we don’t know who, physically prevented us from leaving until the delegations left. It took a while and only when they were sure that they [government officials] had left, were we, so to say, released,“ Nova S journalist Zana Bulajic said.


„Until now, it has never happened that someone physically prevented us from approaching public authorities. Sometimes they wouldn’t let one ask questions and they would run away when they saw you with a camera and a microphone,“ N1 journalist Emina Kovacevic added.


N1 recalls that United Media also requested the reaction of the EU Delegation that participated in the event.


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