28 May Press Shelter Bujanovac : Information only for suitable media
The current government in Bujanovac has chosen a proven way to further humiliate the media it does not like by bringing them to the brink of survival or, in a backup version, adapting them to its needs.
Co-financing through competitions of suitable media, which often exist only in the SBRA Agency, is a tried and tested recipe that mayor Nagip Arifi’s administration took over.
Of course, the local establishment does not have an exclusive to this invention. Any government tends to stifle freedom of speech, but the impression is that no one here has done it as devotedly as this law graduate with a doctorate obtained from the mufti in Novi Pazar.
– It is good until they started beating us, one colleague commented ironically.
In addition to the financial pressure, to which we will return, the government is persistently trying to prevent unsuitable media from doing their job. Thus denies the right to the local community, the citizens, to be objectively and timely informed.
For example, the official Facebook page of the local self-government is exclusively in Albanian. This social network has become one of the most important channels of communication. At the same time, a large number of citizens are deprived of municipal information due to the language barrier.
Bujanovacke has almost daily experience of refusing public officials, primarily some directors of public companies and institutions, to speak for our media.
Let us remind, we do not ask them how they have slept and what they have dreamed, but we ask them questions from the scope of their competencies.
Nejat Behluli: I am looking for explanations
The director of the utility company, for example, interprets our writings about the problems in this public company as personal intolerance towards him. Like an offended boy, he simply does not want to talk to us about things and events important to the local public.
This example represents not only the denial of citizens’ right to information but also the obvious pressure on the media.
There are more similar examples, and considering the similarity, there is no need to spend time and space on them.
This year, the municipality set aside 5 million dinars for the media, 4 million for projects in Albanian and one million dinars in Serbian. The expert commission awarded RTV Bujanovac, owned by Zoran Velickovic, 950,000 for two projects.
Before that, Arifi chose to say that RTB is, in fact, the only real media in Bujanovac.
Arber Pajaziti: Professional media without funds
This caused a great outcry over the decisions of the commission with reasonable doubt that the commission (President Ardita Behluli, Srdjan Conic, and Nebojsa Velickovic) worked under the dictate from the cabinet of the mayor.
Media worker and owner of TV Spektri, Nexhat Behluli, said that the way taxpayers’ money was distributed represents an obvious pressure on the objective media.
– I doubt that project selection for financing was not legal nor professional! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for help for my media, I’m just asking for a correct explanation. He addressed the representatives of the local government in Bujanovacke by those words.
Behluli also asked for an explanation from the president of the commission, who awarded 200,000 dinars to the media from Presevo where she works:
– I am asking you to publicly explain what criteria and standards you followed during your work. Feel free to answer, dear colleague, because your explanation strengthens your authority, while silence will not absolve you from responsibility – said Behluli.
Nagip Arifi: RTB is the only real media
Folonline journalist Jeton Ismaili reacted in a similar tone, and some politicians from the all-Albanian coalition in power such as Driton Rexhepi of PDP Shaip Kamberi, and Arber Pajaziti, the local head of Alternative, who withdrew from the ruling coalition in Bujanovac, did not remain silent. They have also assessed the distribution of money as pressure on independent media and as a shame of Arifi`s rule.
– Arifi did not forget to treat the media whose owner is closely connected with the SNS (Pcinjski 017; a.n,) and a gentleman from Vranje was given 20 percent of the total funds (Velickovic and RTB.) The rest was divided among the backed by party soldiers media or employees in the Municipal Administration. Media that are really doing their job has been left aside, said Pajaziti for Bujanovacke.
So, what about media that do their job in the interest of the local community in Bujanovac?
So what else but to continue to work even better because of the citizens who are the reason for their existence.
Nikola Lazic, Bujanovačke