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Seven daily newspapers with the same cover

There is very little political pluralism in Serbia and it keeps declining, the experts warn.

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The experts and most of the opposition in Serbia are criticizing the marketing move of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), which bought Thursday covers of all but two daily newspapers to promote their presidential candidate only a day before the pre-election silence.

According to the critics, this proves that political pluralism in Serbia barely exists since other presidential candidates cannot afford even a small portion of marketing that the current Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandat Vucic has.

The pre-election silence in Serbia starts on Thursday at midnight. Serbian presidential elections will be held on Sunday, and the citizens will vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Neither the laws nor the codex of journalism is broken by this act of the ruling coalition. However, this is clearly a monopolization of media space. When you come to the newsstand and see that all the newspaper covers look the same, that means that someone took over their brand and used them for the purposes of political campaign,” the member of the Press Council, Tamara Skrozza, told Insajder.net. 

She said that this situation was probably unimaginable to the writers of ethical codes and laws, so there are no regulations to sanction this.

“I presume no one could imagine that someone would buy the covers of all newspapers in Serbia. I do hope that someone will have this in mind when a new law is drafted since this is an embarrassment for the state and for the profession,” said Skrozza.

There is only one presidential candidate, the PM Vucic, who has the funds for serious political marketing, claims the Director of Belgrade based Center for Democracy and Free Elections (CESID), Bojan Klacar.

“Only the PM Vucic has the funds for a serious political campaign and marketing while others can only rely on the field work and direct communication with the voters. This act of buying all the covers of newspapers in Serbia requires serious funding,” he told Insajder.

The Serbian Anti-Corruption Agency, which controls the financing of political campaigns, will be left with only 2 members of the Board on 8th April when the mandates of other 4 members expire. The Agency has still not elected its director.

“Having one candidate on the cover page of all newspapers shows a serious imbalance when it comes to political marketing in Serbia.”

Klacar also said that the PM Vucic’s media team obviously decided that, on the last day of the presidential campaign, he should be present in all the media to “motivate all potential voters.”

Milivoje Pantovic

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