#ProbudiREM (Wake up the REM) – More than 650 complaints filed against the Serbian Progressive Party video

The Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media received in less than 24 hours more than 650 complaints against broadcasting of the Serbian Progressive Party promotional video on TV channels with national frequencies outside of the election campaign.

On February 5th, the organisation CRTA launched the initiative #ProbudiREM (Wake up the REM) prompting all interested citizens to file complaints to the REM via an online form because TV Prva at 10:18 on February 3rd and TV Happy at 21:50 on February 4th broadcast the Serbian Progressive Party video displaying political contents.

“The aim of this initiative is to urge the REM to officially state whether the law has been violated by broadcasting of this political video. The law stipulates that the media are obligated to provide free, truthful, objective, complete and timely informing of citizens, and to truthfully and objectively present the facts, particularly through news and programmes, as well as to encourage free formation of opinions. When this is not the case, the REM has the responsibility to react in order to protect the public interest “, said the CRTA programme director Raša Nedeljkov.

At the time stated in the complaint, the media service providers broadcast the Serbian Progressive Party promotional video containing explicit political contents, political messages and political influence on viewers (directly putting opposition leaders Dragan Đilas and Vuk Jeremić, as well as citizens’ protest held throughout Serbia, in relation with tycoons, i.e. criminal activities). On the other hand, the Law on Electronic Media, article 47, paragraph 1, item 5, directly forbids political advertising outside of election campaigns: „…respect the ban on political advertising outside of political campaigns and during such campaigns enable registered political parties, coalitions and candidates’ representation without discrimination”. Furthermore, the Law on Advertising forbids covert and misleading advertising, i.e. downplaying of actors in the advertisement.

Broadcasting of the video on television channels with national frequency has triggered public polemics between representatives of the authorities and the opposition. One member of the REM Council joined the polemics, but this institution has not yet given an official statement.