Lalic: If This Law is Adopted, There Will Be No Media in Five Years

Source: Nedeljnik Friday, 20.10.2023. 09:57
(Photo: Brian A Jackson/
If the Government’s media law proposals are adopted, there will be no media in five years, the editor of Nedeljnik, Veljko Lalic, stated for N1.

In an interview on the Novi Dan show on TV N1, Lalic estimated that the public was not aware enough of what the authorities were trying to do with the new Law on Public Information and Media and the Law on Electronic Media.

He added that he understood why N1 had, as he said, justifiably focused on the, eventually removed, disputed items in the Law on Electronic Media which would have enabled the “racketeering” of cable operators, but that numerous problematic things remained in the Government’s media law proposals.

– If this Law (on Public Information and Media) passes, and it will, it is the law that we will talk about in the same terms as we once talked about the cancellation of the “Utisak nedelje” show. It will be a turn to a full “Orbanization” of the media – Lalic warned.

He reminded that the European Union had adopted the EU law on media freedom the year before. In this law, he said, the key item is a just distribution of state advertising.

It was precisely the free flow of advertising in the 19th century that created independent media, Lalic said.

– We don’t have that, and that’s how we ruin the media! According to Ipsos, RTS has a 24% share in the market, has the biggest coverage. Nedeljnik has 1.6%. Nedeljnik is 15 times smaller than RTS. Euronews has 0.1%. Nedeljnik is 16 times bigger than Euronews. Now you have 120 million of the budget from the citizens’ money in RTS, and on top of that, they take advertising. They have 150 times more funds than Nedeljnik, and they are 15 times bigger, whereas Euronews has 20 times more funds than Nedeljnik, and its share is 16 times smaller – Lalic explained.

– If you allowed a free flow of advertising, you would get what we have in the west. Only Zoran Djindjic attempted to do so when he assumed authority in 2000. He did the privatization of Politika and he also wanted to privatize Novosti – he reminded.

As he said, the Government is now trying to push something through in ten days which should have lasted six months.

– I am a publisher, nobody has talked to me – Lalic pointed out and estimated that the proposed media laws were “entirely criminal”.

– You can’t fight Telekom. I’m hearing that it’s going to enter print media, them, who give EUR 600 million for football match broadcasting! In five years, when we realize this is unfair competition (…) in five years, there will be no media if this law is adopted – Lalic warned.

He therefore said that the most offensive thing to him was that, following the meeting attended by OSCE representatives, everybody had talked about how constructive the talks had been.

– There is the EU law on media freedom, in Croatia the key thing is how it’s distributed – by rating. How did the OSCE say that it was true and we are listening for days that, in Austria, the state is in the media? There is no state in the media in Europe – said Lalic and pointed out that the majority owner of Telekom Austria is the Mexican mogul Carlos Slim.

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