Press release of the Women against Violence Network[1]

Belgrade, June 13, 2019. The Women against Violence Network and the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia pointedly condemn the lack of appropriate reaction by the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) to violence against women and children in reality programs that have been broadcast for years on TV Pink and TV Happy. We hereby request REM to issue its strictest measures against the reality programs “Parovi” (Engl: Couples) and Zadruga (Engl: Coop) with the aim of combatting violence against women and children in the media.

Complaints against violence in the media submitted so far by the civil sector have ended in warnings, which REM issued against above-named media companies.[2] As the violence hasn’t stopped, the fact is that these measures are not effective.

Only during the previous month, three participants of the reality shows “Parovi” and “Zadruga” were exposed to the following forms of violence:  kicking, slapping, hitting and being spat on, after which some of them ended in hospital.[3] We would also like to remind about the case when after airing the television program DNK (Engl. DNA) in 2015, the participant of this reality show killed another show participant, his wife, and that in the same program children’s DNA was taken in front of cameras for confirmation of paternity.

We would like to remind the public that the Law on Electronic Media bans programs supporting violence, criminal or other unacceptable behavior (Art 47), as well as degrading treatment and scenes of violence and torture (Art 50). The Regulation on Protection of Rights of Minors in the Field of Provision of Media Services (REM, 2015) points out that reality program content is considered inappropriate for persons under the age of 18 if it depicts violence and inappropriate expression in the form of acts of aggression and with the aim of insulting. Banning of the airing of programs that encourage or depict violence and protection of minors from such content is defined also in the Regulation on the Protection of Human Rights in the Field of Provision of Media Services (REM, 2015).

The Women against Violence Network supports the proposal of the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia and other journalist and media associations that the new Strategy on the Development of the Public Informing System should provide a basis for amendments to relevant laws so that they enable the possibility of issuing fines besides existing sanctions in cases of breach of provisions in the field of electronic media.

[1] Mreža Žene protiv nasilja je koalicija 26 ženskih nevladinih organizacija iz 17 gradova i opština u Srbiji koje pružaju usluge za podršku ženama koje su preživele muško nasilje (