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REGARDING THE CINS ATTACKS AGAINST WIRELESS MEDIA AND THE REPUTATION OF ITS OWNER
Foto: Wireless Media

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

REGARDING THE CINS ATTACKS AGAINST WIRELESS MEDIA AND THE REPUTATION OF ITS OWNER

News

It is with regret that we note that the CINS has published the unprofessional and tendentious article titled "Hidden donations: How Igor Žeželj's company creates the Progressives' campaigns". We believe that it is unacceptable for an organization funded from donations for investigative and professional journalism to present transparent and publicly accessible projects in a sensationalist and manipulative manner as its own finding in its "investigative" piece. This begs the question of what the true motivation behind this attack is, and with whose interest in mind it was launched.

Wireless Media respects the right of media outlets to investigate and ask any question that could be in the public interest, and has never left any media outlet without an answer. That is what happened this time as well – all ten questions put by the CINS were answered, with a request that the reply be published in its entirety. For unclear reasons, and contrary to the ethical standards of journalism, the CINS left out important facts made available to them as part of the answers to the questions posed, and the article was presented in a tabloid layout. The so-called clickbait headline discredits the company owner, and a number of falsehoods are put forward, citing unknown sources and evidently manipulating facts. The people cited are used as they are obviously not familiar with the details of the project. In light of all of the above, and in the interest of the general public, we call on the CINS to publish the answers sent to them in their integral form, in line with the ethical standards.

The CINS article includes a project presentation containing details which could be classified as our company's intellectual property. Although we are happy to share our knowledge, this is a case of unauthorized publication of business information which, as the project is not financed from public funds, constitutes a business secret. It is a fact that publishing this presentation benefits us as it reveals our company's professionalism, but it is also a fact that they did not ask for permission to publish it. We hasten to add here that we will not be pressing charges against them over this, as we would probably have given them permission to publish the presentation if they had asked.

A question can be raised here as to what the motivation is for such actions on the part of the CINS. In an endeavour to get to the bottom of this, we closely monitored how their article was used, as well as who utilized it for their own interest. On the same day, the media outlets owned by United Media and the staff at Multikom Group launched a campaign, presenting an already tendentious item of news, directed against our business system, in an even more negative light. What is especially disconcerting is the fact that the campaign was joined by Istinomer – also funded from donations – which proceeded to publish the profile of the owner of our company on the same day, with a paragraph taken tendentiously from the CINS article.

We call on the CINS and Istinomer to leave the orchestrated attack mounted by our direct competition – United Media and Multikom Group. Further, we call on donors to reconsider how their donations are used.

We appeal to the media associations and organizations to pay attention to the coordinated action by the media outlets owned by United Group, Multikom Group, and the political actors close to them, and not to duped by it, but rather to respond in an appropriate and professional manner.

The message that we have for United Media and Multikom Group is that business-wise we will continue to be their competition, but that the media outlets in our ownership will fight back against the pressure they put on us, stay independent, and not become a hidden or formal part of their media concentration (N1, Nova S, Danas, Direktno, and other hidden partners) at any price.

For those interested in the truth about the projects:

The purpose of the pilot projects that we implemented in collaboration with said cities is not to promote a political party or a person, but to develop communication platforms focusing on increasing transparency of city hall operations, as well as providing information on projects and local and cultural events, ensuring a two-way communication with the citizens, and directing emotions towards the city via stories about fellow townspeople living, working, and creating in these local self-governments.

These projects are important and necessary for city administrations, regardless of party affiliations. We believe it is important for the general public to understand what our interest is in implementing them.

They were modelled after the practices of developed European municipalities/cities, and are part of a broader CSR project titled We Know Serbia, which we are preparing within our business system. In addition to social responsibility, we have a clear and important business interest as through the work on these projects we develop services and software tools adapted to local self-governments. Based on the pilot projects, we have developed platforms that are part of our commercial offer in the entire region, and in the coming months we expect to collaborate with our commercial clients, which fund the service themselves, or from numerous EU or other available funds which support such platforms.

The fact is that our municipalities/cities still cannot afford such platforms. We hold that it is in the public interest for their operation to be transparent, and that they and the donors need to understand the importance of investing in such projects. We believe that the CINS' donors could have the same interest as these platforms allow transparent operation of local self-governments, promoting only good values and dialogue with the citizens.

We view the CINS article as an attempt to render meaningless the great and very socially useful projects that we take pride in, and which metropolises like London, Paris, and others boast of. The top quality of these products is attested, among other things, by the fact that the project titled Belgrade Lives On won a prestigious award for the best web site, and that it was shortlisted for several other categories at one of the most important events in the digital sphere, the 2018 IAB Mixx Awards

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