About exhibition

In early May 2012, after 12 years of rule of political parties gathered around the Democratic Party, democratic elections brought a change of government in Serbia. After the initial shock and disbelief caused by the results of the electorate’s will, one part of the media – which represented the logistic support of the previous government – started an organized, meticulously planned campaign of discrediting the newly-elected cabinet. Aleksandar Vučić, president of the strongest party in Serbia – the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), first deputy prime minister, and from 2014 Serbian prime minister, became the central target of their attacks.

From the starting wide range of criticizing at the expense of Aleksandar Vučić and SNS, the blade of the attack quickly narrowed in on the so-called “censorship,” a term deliberately launched in order to present the Prime Minister and his government as “censors” who cancel TV shows, bring down portals, replace reporters, ban texts…

This campaign has been ongoing for over 2 years now, continuously and unabatingly. As a result of “censorship” accusations, which have become some sort of mantra of one part of media outlets, an opinion that “media dictatorship” is actually one of the primary manners of rule of Aleksandar Vučić has been imposed on the domestic and foreign public.

Though numerous examples – from the most brutal accusations, slander even insults at the expense of Aleksandar Vučić – testify that the freedom of expression in Serbia is at a significantly higher level than in many countries of West Europe, every attempt of real portrayal of the media situation in Serbia has repeatedly been used for the launch of a new wave of accusations of censorship or attacks against the media.

Led by the need to discover the truth based on the facts, we believed that the most objective approach is to present the public with examples that testify what journalism in Serbia looked like in the period from 2014 to 2016. In that way, every person will be able to reach his/her conclusion, based on his/her own opinion and assessment, as to why the story about “censorship” was released and what the aim of that campaign was. 

The media saga in Serbia started just after October 5th 2000, after a decade of sovereign rule of Slobodan Milošević, when political change was accompanied by tectonic movements on the economic, cultural and especially media stage of Serbia. 
After years of developing as opposition media, a few of the print media outlets and a large number of mostly local electronic media found themselves in unchartered territory with the overthrow of Milošević. With the disappearance of the main actor of their work – the “archenemy” Milošević – most media workers, as they themselves confess, were no longer able to find their way in their own profession. 

In this wandering, dissatisfied with the unfulfilled expectations of the October 5th Revolution, as well as the fact that numerous media funds which supported the development of their editorial staff were shut down, some media and their heads started to create a new enemy. The first prime minister after October 5th, Zoran Đinđić, PhD, often emphasized that he saw politics as a popularity contest. He consciously refused to accept the fact that he himself became the target of media attacks, the same media which had been his allies for years. With the help of the media, all this tragically ended on March 12th, 2003. 

Đinđić’s “successors” perceived the power of the media far more seriously. First softly and discretely, and from 2008 to 2012 primarily through economic control, all media in Serbia were transformed into a service and marketing support to the government of that time. 

This idyllic, almost symbiotic relationship between the media and a group of parties, i.e. influential individuals gathered around the Democratic Party, was interrupted by the – according to them – unexpected result of the 2012 elections. The media and their management again, similar to 12 years earlier, found themselves in a situation in which it was unclear what exactly they were to do. They first opted for the strategy of ignoring and treating the will of the people as if this was an inexplicable, but surely short-term incident?! In this way, they actually closed the circle and returned to their initial – opposition activity. Of course, a new enemy needed to be targeted. The almost unnaturally convincing majority won by SNS and Aleksandar Vučić in the elections and the almost irritating energy and resoluteness to get things going in Serbia gave Vučić the perfect profile of an “enemy.” 

And so the previously vacated position was filled. Now, they needed to find a reason and motive for conflict. A “mantra” with which to wage the war against the “enemy” needed to be found. Being skilful and seasoned in this field, they quickly supplied the public with the answer: while the new Government was still on the steps of the National Assembly on April 27th, 2014, posing for its first group portrait, Serbia and the world was informed that a cruel and uncompromising censor was taking office and that the persecuted media and journalists would be needing support and help, like in the nineties when they challenged Milošević. From that April to this July, for more than two years, the story of the so-called “media dictatorship” has been artificially imposed. The term “censorship” became the new mantra. 

As we said in the beginning, our intention is neither to impose nor to suggest, but to let the facts be the only criteria based on which the citizens will form their own judgment. Has there been censorship in Serbia over these two years or are “uncensored lies” at work here? We will let you be the judge. 

Before you is a selection of 2523 examples, which we chose among 6732 negative media reports published in this period about Aleksandar Vučić and his family, party, friends, party colleagues, Government members.


Welcome to the exhibit “Uncensored lies.”


Team of authors, Information Service of the Serbian Progressive Party


July, 2016

2014

  • Text about alleged censorship of the YouTube video which was taken down due to copyright infringement. Editorial staff accuses SNS of “censoring the internet in Serbia.”

    „Feketić šou“, Danas
  • Comparing Aleksandar Vučić with Tito and media control in the authoritarian context.

    Teofil Pančić, Radio slobodna Evropa
  • “The media are voluntarily moving towards centres of power, and today this is not the Government, it is Aleksandar Vučić”

    Gordana Igrić, Danas
  • “Disciplining media in Serbia – except for the paper Danas”

    Dragan Popović, Deutsche Welle
  • “IJAS believes it is unacceptable to suppress the freedom of expression under the state-of- emergency pretence”

    NUNS
  • “I urge the Serbian authorities to put paid to this and stop interfering with the work of online media”

    Dunja Mijatović, B92
  • “This is an attempt to intimidate the critical writing of the citizens and a threat to freedom of speech”

    Vesna Rakić Vodinelić, Naše novine
  • Against intimidating individuals, taking down websites and suppressing the freedom of speech

    Majkl Devenport, šef delegacije EU
  • “Confessions of those arrested over Facebook comments”

    CINS
  • Contacted international organisations on account of organised campaign of censoring and removing videos.

    NUNS, NDNV i SHARE
  • “There is no freedom of media, soft, friendly and auto-censorship is at work here”

    Gordana Suša, Blic
  • “The nineties seem to be evergreen”

    Bojana Lekić, Danas
  • “VUČIĆ’S CV: Censorship as his main specialty“

    Danilo Redžepović, Teleprompter
  • “Petition 'In the face of censorship': We demand the government immediately stop attacking the freedom of expression “

    Aleksandar Sekulić i Dario Hajrić, Peščanik
  • “Censorship is unconstitutional”

    Saša Janković, Ombudsman
  • “The citizens have stood up to defend the freedom of speech and this should be an important lesson for the Serbian Government.”

    Saša Janković, Ombudsman
  • “Cancelling Utisak nedelje (Impression of the week) will affect the report of the European Commission”

    Olja Bećković, Danas
  • “(EFJ) has been carefully following the development of media over the last few years in Serbia and we are very alarmed by the worsening of the conditions in which journalists are working”

    Renata Šreder, EFJ

2015

  • “The Government in Serbia has a very negative attitude towards freedom of media and is suppressing critical, free reporting”

    Kristijan Mir, Reporteri bez granica
  • “Almost all media are under government control”

    Gordana Igrić, Danas
  • “I was unable to work professionally”

    Danica Vučenić, N1
  • “There is no censorship here, there are pressures on the media and abuse of the media”

    Dragoljub Žarković i Dragoljub Draža Petrović, N1
  • “STOP CENSORSHIP!“, “Vučić, stop pressuring the media!“, “SORRY, SERBIA“, “THE GOVERNMENT WANTS DARKNESS: A message to all who dare to criticise the regime!”

    Aleksandar Rodić, Kurir
  • “Soft censorship in Serbia represents a great problem for freedom of media”

    Tanja Maksić, BIRN
  • “Reporters either do not answer questions about censorship, or they speak about it anonymously”

    Zoran B. Nikolić, Cenzolovka
  • “The government is repressing the media”

    Snježana Milivojević, Danas
  • “The new episode of 24 minuta (24 minutes) have not been aired, Kesić hopes it was a mistake”

    Zoran Kesić, N1
  • “A protest in front of the Parliament of Serbia against the cancellation of Kesić’s show is announced”

    Opozicionar
  • “Commission has, just as Rodić, concluded that the free media in Serbia are exposed to pressure of the political elite”

    Ulrike Lunaček, potpredsednica Evropskog parlamenta
  • “Goebbels would be pleased today“

    Tatjana Mandić Rigonat, N1

2016

  • “Protests “Journalists do not kneel” continue, “Oscars” for the state of media awarded”,

    N1
  • “Vučić controls all influential media, DS has again become a democratic brand”

    Vesna Pešić, NSPM
  • “Protest is dedicated to the reporters whose professional and personal safety have been compromised because of their insisting on the truth”

    NUNS
  • Demands Nebojša Stefanović stop preventing the investigation about tapping reporters and providing information to only certain media outlets

    Branko Čečen, CINS
  • “The dismissals on RTV means restoring the flagitious system”

    Milivoj Bešlin, N1