The sale of 38 state-owned media outlets has been launched by Serbia’s privatisation agency. The most important outlets that have applied for sale include Tanjug, the state news agency, and the daily newspaper Dnevnik.
The sale follows an information and media law adopted in August 2014, and is part of a media strategy that envisages the end of state ownership in the sector.
The media reform is one of the conditions for the continuation of Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU. Whilst the main objective of the privatisation is purportedly to bring Serbia closer to EU standards, it also reflects pressure from owners of private media, who claim that it is unfair that state-owned media outlets receive money from the state budget whilst also being allowed to make money on a commercial basis.
Of all the media outlets currently operating in Serbia – over 1,400 according to official figures – only 74 are still publicly owned. Those state-owned outlets that have not begun the privatisation process and are in a poor financial situation will soon be shut down, whilst those that are financially stable will have their shares divided among the employees.