Printing houses in Serbia refuse to publish new daily newspaper

"Uskoro" meas soon. The add for the launch of the Nova newspaper is already two months old.

United Group, a leading multi-play telecoms and media provider in South-East Europe, announced in April it was launching a daily newspaper in Serbia with a responsible editorial concept, to counter the bad situation with print media in the country. However, no printing house in Serbia has so far accepted to print the new daily, called Nova.

“We believe that Serbian readers need a reliable daily since the market is burdened with tabloids often abused in politics. Nova will be objective but uncompromised in reporting on all important issues in the country,” United Media said in a statement in April.

In Serbia, United Media runs N1 TV and website, Nova S and nova.rs website, Sport Klub, Brainz science channel, children’s TVs Pikaboo and Vavoom, Grand Production, IDJ music channel, Cinemania, Hunting and Fishing channel. The group also owns Danas, a quality newspaper magazine with a long tradition.

The plan was to publish Nova on 24 pages from Monday to Friday, with a 32-page weekend edition on Saturday.

However, one month later, the newspaper still has only an online version.

Stojan Drčelić, editor-in-chief of Nova newspaper, told EURACTIV Bulgaria on Friday (21 April) that none of Serbia’s printing houses accepted to print the newspaper.

“All printing houses in Serbia that we have contacted have rejected us. We have offered more than the market price, but no one would print for us. Actually, they didn’t say that they wouldn’t, but that they couldn’t do it,” Drčelić said.

The explanations Nova got was that printing the newspaper was technically impossible, he said.

“For us, this is an excuse. It is completely clear that there is plenty of capacity in the printing houses where no more than 250,000 copies are now printed. These are modern printing houses that could print 100,000 copies per hour,” he said.

Drčelić added that the publishing industry in Serbia has been declining for years and many of these printing houses did not have enough business and money to pay their workers.

“In this situation when they reject us, it is clear that it’s because they fear that they will lose their business,” he said.

The deteriorating media situation in Serbia has been raising eyebrows lately. EURACTIV Bulgaria is organising a conference on the media situation in the Balkans on 3 June.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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