The talk show death puts to question the freedom of media

10.10.2014 | By Maja Ružić

The decision of the broadcaster B92 to axe a flagship of independent journalism – the political show “Utisak Nedelje” – has raised a storm in Serbia among journalists and media observers.

“How is it possible that something that [the former strongman Slobodan] Milosevic didn’t do – something that no one ever thought to do – he has done now?” Olja Becković, the show’s author and host, said, clearly blaming Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić for the death of her 24-year-old TV programme.She painted a disturbing picture of the media scene in Serbia in which there is apparently no room any longer for shows such as hers. Beckovic is not alone in her concerns about the fate of the Serbian media generally.

Many experts say B92’s decision to scrap “Utisak Nedelje”, as part of a broad switch to entertainment-based programmes, will further damage the media, reducing the space for independent reporting and free, critical voices.Vukasin Obradovic, head of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia, NUNS, as one of the organizers of a protest against the cancellation of “Utisak Nedelje” stated the protest was not only about Beckovic’s show but reflected “deep concern about the diminishing freedom of thought and expression” in general.

Picture: Vocko