Analysts say Telekom Serbia is ‘in panic mode’ after Kosovo banned Arena Sport

NEWS 10.10.202320:12 0 komentara

After Arena Sport was banned in Kosovo a week ago due to their broadcasting of pro-Serbian propaganda messages, the owner of the channel, Telekom Serbia, commented on the matter, saying they were not broadcasting war messages and that the footage in question was in fact an advertisement. Telekom Serbia added that the Kosovo regulators should be more understanding of the media in challenging times. However, analysts believe that the government in Serbia has once again misused sports channels.

Thirty thousand households in Kosovo have been unable to watch Arena Sport for a week now, ever since Kosovo’s Independent Media Commission banned the channel after it broadcast propaganda messages glorifying the violence that took place in the northern Kosovo village of Banjska in late September.

State-owned Telekom Serbia, which owns the channel, rejects the accusations and does not claim responsibility for the incident.

“We believe this decision is extremely harsh because it failed to take into account that we have been operating in Kosovo without incident for years. This was in fact an advertisement broadcast during the commercial break, dedicated to Banjska. Apart from finding it too harsh, we also believe that all regulations should nurture a relationship of understanding and transparency towards the media. In these challenging times, all regulators should be understanding of the media,” said Vladimir Lucic, the general director of Telekom Serbia.

This statement surprised the analysts and left them wondering: How are regulators supposed to understand the broadcasting of propaganda war messages in a series of sports programmes, accompanied with the words “We will remember” and “Glory to the heroes”?

Panic in Telekom Serbia?

These messages are glorifying and supporting the attack by Serbian nationals in the village of Banjska. A Kosovo police officer was killed in the incident. The analysts are also noting that Telekom’s reaction is reflecting the severity of the problem.

“This should be interpreted as a very strong drive and panic within Telekom Serbia, and by extension also probably within the ruling political structures. They want to reduce the damage caused by this act and return the entire story back to the Pandora’s box. However, we all well know that once the genie is out, it is very difficult to put it back in, especially overnight with a statement such as this one”, said Marko Milosavljevic, professor of social sciences at the University of Ljubljana.

The Croatian Electronic Media Agency said something like this could never happen in Croatia.

“Our Electronic Media Act very clearly dictates the rules of conduct, as well as the possible steps a regulator can, and must, take if the rules are violated. Situations such as this one have never happened (in Croatia), and I believe they will not happen. We are concerned with development, not questions like the ones Serbia and Kosovo are dealing with,” said Damir Bucevic, member of the Agency’s council.

Enormous sums for sports broadcasting rights

Arena Sport apparently will not have any trouble paying fines, considering they are a part of a state-owned company. They allocated a billion euros for purchasing sports broadcasting rights, paying 600 million euros for the rights to broadcast the English Premier League, overpaying by a large margin. However, analysts believe that Arena Sport, if they keep broadcasting political propaganda, could be banned in other Western Balkans countries.

“I believe that any punishment they receive will not be a problem for them at all. The biggest problem for them is that they were kicked out of the system, and they can be banned in other systems in the Western Balkans, but also the fact that some rightholders or sports rights organisers may back out or think twice about cooperating with Telekom Serbia,” professor Milosavljevic said.

N1 reached out to UEFA, asking for their comment on the fact that audiences in Kosovo will not be able to watch the broadcasts of their competitions, as well as their comment on the spreading of propaganda on sports channels, but we have not received a reply.

The decision to ban Arena Sport is temporary, but if a similar incident happens again, the sanctions may be even stricter.

Kakvo je tvoje mišljenje o ovome?

Budi prvi koji će ostaviti komentar!