Journalists of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) will investigate ownership and financing of media with tax payers’ money, as well as political and other pressures that journalists in Serbia face. CINS will thus directly contribute to the fight against media darkness and development of free, independent and professional journalism, based on facts.
Earlier CINS investigations on these topics showed that the citizens’ money is spent in a non-transparent manner. Since the start of the implementation of the new Law on Public Information and Media, media close to the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and its officials have been favored in the calls for project-based co-financing of media content in the public interest. Also, budgetary funds have been allocated outside of official calls, by secret agreements and with insufficient control. CINS stories also uncovered allocation of funds via project-based co-financing to mutually linked companies, while the election committees featured members who were not eligible.
CINS is part of the Group for Media Freedom, established after the closing of Vranjske novine, one of the most significant local media in Serbia. Vranjske were closed down due to constant political and other pressures that it could not resist any longer. Many other “unfavorable” media outlets are in an equally poor situation.
The Group has carried out two important activities so far: the action “STOP to Media Darkness” when more than 300 media and organizations blackened their front pages, and the event “Why am I here” where the Proclamation on Media Freedom was being signed.
As of early 2018, CINS will investigate and publish the above mentioned stories within the project “Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety”.
This project is funded by the European Union through the small grants programme “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans” implemented by the Croatian Journalists’ Association as part of the regional project Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, carried out through partnership of six regional journalists’ associations – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Association of BH Journalists (BHJ), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM).