How was the interview with the Serbian prime minister arranged?
Author: Irena Stević
Our plan was not to immediately request an interview with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. The meeting happened, one might say, by chance. Although out portal went online only today, we have been working for several months now. We started going to news conferences lately, within the "test work" period. The first attempt to ask Aleksandar Vučić a question, about labeling journalists as foreign hirelings, was without success. We came to a news conference when journalists from other media explained that they had already "reserved" the questions and that we would not be able to, because only two were allowed. We objected immediately, but with no results. We decided to publish on our Facebook page the text about the fact that such a thing as "reserved questions" existed.
Several days ago, on Friday, the three of us - journalists of the Insajder portal, together with the cameraman, went to the Serbian Parliament, because the prime minister and all the ministers were there.
We intended to ask different people a number of questions, and that was why so many of us went. At the entrance, they asked us in amazement: "What is going on if so many of you from Insajder came?"
We waited the whole day... positioned in such a way that nobody could escape us. We succeeded in reaching the prime minister at the exit from the Parliament. We asked him for a brief statement, saying that we knew he was tired, and he said: "Come tomorrow to the news conference after the session of the Welfare and Economic Council". He turned around and left. We checked the announced events for the next day and there was no announcement that Aleksandar Vučić would speak anywhere. That evening, we checked with Suzana Vasiljević from the office of prime minister whether his suggestion to come on the next day meant that he would give us an exclusive statement? We asked her to ask if he could find 15 minutes, so we could meet in his office and not in the hallway, and discuss the media, for a web-site that has yet to start working. Several minutes later, a reply came from Suzana, that we should come to the government on Monday at 1:00 p.m. And that was it. That was the first time that someone agreed to an interview without asking for questions in advance.
The planned 15 minutes turned into a half-hour conversation. I cannot say I needed more time, nor that I managed to ask all the questions, but I know that I asked the questions without any self-censorship and I got unexpected answers.