IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Simplicity/Juzne Vesti
GRANT AMOUNT: $30,900
THEME: Budget Monitoring; Media
Despite difficult circumstances last year during the project period, the project ”Capacity building of the local medias and CSOs in 5 regions in South Serbia for the monitoring of the local budget (planning and spending of “hidden costs”) was successfully implemented. Highest risk circumstance definitely reflected in the elections that took place all levels. The date of the elections was May 6, while the entire year was devoted to this matter. During the pre-election campaign, candidates for political functions were available for cooperation with JUZNE VESTI. However, when the elections results appeared as unexpected, communicating with the politicians turned to be difficult afterwards. The reason for that was the fact that almost all parties at the political scene of Serbia were in a position to form a government. When the ruling majority was finally formed, the establishment of institutions began, but not before the end of 2012. All that created favorable conditions for the new government to be non-transparent, concerning creation of the new budget; so public debate related to that issue did not happen at all. For example, the budget of RSD 9 billion in Nis was adopted without public participation.
A year behind will be also remembered by closing out of two regional TV stations, which were, according to their ratings far beyond the only one left. More than 100 media workers lost their jobs, and the City of Nis remained with one local TV station financed from the budget of the City and one regional, the owner of which possesses 4 media in the city and the region of southeast Serbia. It is also the second in line to be financed from the city budget. In addition to that, a new situation in the field of informing appeared-it was never so biased and more dependent from politicians’ money. In such environment JUZNE VESTI remained alone, but additionally motivated to continue its mission of unbiased and independent reporting.