Serbia Ready to Shut Down State Media as Privatisation Deadline Nears
The Serbian government expressed readiness to shut down state media in case they do not comply with the approaching privatisation deadline.
Serbian Minister of Culture and Information Ivan Tasovac announced on Thursday that state-owned media must submit the necessary documentation for their sale immediately and their privatisation should be completed in four months.
Tasovac warned that media, which fail to submit the required documents by Friday, risked closure, the Balkan Insight reports.
The minister accused the media of delaying the process of privatisation as they refused to get off the state budget.
In August 2014, the Serbian government of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic adopted a Law on Information and the Media, which provided for the withdrawal of the state from media ownership by 1 July 2015.
Ljubomir Subara, Director of the Privatisation Agency, said he had been promised that documentation for the privatisation of 34 of Serbia's 73 publicly owned media outlets will be delivered by Friday.
Subara added that so for only 14 media have complied and that bids for the sale of media will be published by the end of June.
He admitted that the privatisation agency had to beg media to provide the necessary documentation because most of them believed they would not be privatised.
The government of former Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic adopted in 2011 a strategy on the development of the country's public information system until 2016.
The strategy envisaged the withdrawal of the state from all media, except in limited and specific cases concerning national and provincial public services.
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