Following the opening of accession talks with Serbia in January 2014, Out of the Box organized a public hearing on the state of media freedoms in the country on 1 April 2014 in the European Parliament (EP). Convinced that deep and demanding structural reforms which accompany accession negotiations with the EU are virtually impossible without a strong, independent and vigilant media sector, Out of the Box brought together in Brussels the main Serbian media stakeholders, EP and Commission officials. EP rapporteur on Serbia Jelko Kacin singled out “the rise of tabloids” as the most worrying trend on the Serbian media scene.
Panel conclusions that “legislative framework needs to be put in place as soon as possible” were echoed widely in Serbia, which ranks 54 on the Reports without Borders World Press Freedom Index for 2014.
Participants of the panel, who included representatives of the main journalists associations, government and NGOs, also met with senior officials of DG Enlargement of the European Commission and exchanged views on the draft laws on media which are due for adoption. During the meeting, strong concerns about the freedom of Media in Serbia were expressed from the European Commission side.