The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, underlined that journalists’ economic position was one of the most important requirements for the existence of professional and free media and announced that he would insist on setting up a single database on the attacks on journalists, where economic pressures would be singled out as a separate segment.

“The prerequisite for objective media are objective journalists. And one of the conditions for journalists’ objectivity is that they should be relieved from all sorts of pressures, primarily the economic ones, as their daily lives and work depend on it”, Mr. Pašalić stated ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the Working Group for the development of media platform.

“An economic pressure might be the fact that, based on our data, journalists in Serbia are frequently engaged without a working contract or with a contract that can easily be terminated, their wages are low and often below the national average and the payment is often late, they work overtime, particularly now, during the epidemic, and they are constantly faced with augmenting the workload, freelancers are in a tough position”, Mr. Pašalić added.

The Protector of Citizens considers that such working conditions jeopardize the objectivity and professionalism of journalists and media workers, frequently leading up to self-censorship since there is no motivation nor desire for a professional job performance in those working conditions eventually causing this profession’s implosion.

“I will not give up the idea of forming a single database on attacks on journalists, where economic pressures will be singled out as a separate segment, and we will seek the manner to root out the pressures and disable them from reoccurring, in cooperation with all the competent bodies and media associations”, Mr. Pašalić said.

Journalists in Serbia are working in difficult conditions, and in the current pandemic they are exposed to additional economic pressures, particularly the ones that cooperate with media companies on a freelance basis, so it is necessary to make additional efforts in order to prevent the complete degradation of this profession, to ensure the independence of the media and the quality of reporting which the citizens of Serbia are entitled to pursuant to the Constitution, Mr. Pašalić has emphasized.