Adria Media Group's request to conduct oversight of TV N1 will be reviewed at the meeting of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM) scheduled for Monday, November 2. This will at long last reveal whether this agency operates independently or whether it serves only the interests of Dragan Šolak, owner of United Group, which TV N1 is part of.
Masks will finally fall off after this meeting – if the REM initiates the oversight procedure, this will be an acknowledgement of the fact that N1 has for years been operating in violation of all the domestic laws; if, on the other hand, oversight is not initiated, this will be proof that the REM works in the interests of Šolak's United Group. The public could finally learn on Monday who it is that actually heads the REM and makes decisions on its behalf – whether it is indeed the members of the REM Council, or individuals from this regulatory authority's administration.
The ball is therefore in the REM's court. All it needs to do is resist pressures – and there is no doubt there are pressures – and initiate oversight of N1, implement the Law on Electronic Media, and order N1 to register as a domestic television station based on the facts of the matter. N1 has in actuality been a domestic television station for years, but it has been classified as a cross-border television station in contravention of the law, and has in this way been turning a profit in the grey zone.
Let the masks fall where they may
As Kurir has reported before, United Group's media – N1 and Nova S – operate without a REM permit, have not been entered into the media registry, broadcast undeclared ads, and are exempt from paying taxes in Serbia, which they would have to pay if they were registered as domestic media.
A perfectly legitimate question poses itself here – who in the REM has for years made this possible for Šolak's media, and still allows it, acting individually or on the agency's behalf? And who has by so doing put United Group in a privileged position - a position that effectively rules out the possibility of its media being brought to trial in the Serbian courts? On the other hand, Šolak and his United Group bring charges against the Serbian media in foreign courts, making what happened recently possible: the court in Zürich ruled against the Serbian media outlets Pink, Studio B, and Informer, while the top brass of the media outlets allegedly condemned in court could not even appear in any of the hearings.
All in the owner's interests
It is this very case that has exposed TV N1 further, revealing a pattern it uses to create spin. For example, it was clear that not only had N1 been operating in violation of the law, but also that it did that trampling all the norms of the profession. N1 first reported the news that the court had ruled in favour of Dragan Šolak, only to change the news by referring to United Group's official statement, violating the code of ethics for journalists. United Group's media have persistently refused to publish the above ruling, which they claim they have had access to. At the same time, N1 has launched a campaign and mounted an attack against the JAS as well, solely because this association had called upon them to adhere to the journalist code and publish the ruling of the Swiss court. It is evident that N1 and other Šolak's media have increasingly been committing summary offences, and have gone about it in ever more brutal ways, with the apparent aim of protecting the interests of their owner.
Executive director on sick leave?
Executive director on sick leave?
REM TOP BRASS RAJKA GALIN ĆERTIĆ PHOTO: MEDIJA CENTAR
Yesterday Kurir sent questions to the REM over suspicions that decisions are made at this agency outside of the Council, but we have not received an answer. The following questions remain unanswered:
- Who at the REM prepares meeting materials?
- What is the decision-making procedure at the REM?
- Based on whose legal opinion are decisions made – the relevant departments' or the REM members' ?
- Is it true that the executive director Rajka Galin is on sick leave and will she attend the REM meeting on Monday, November 2?
Kurir.rs/ Kurir Office/ Photo: Screenshot