The Government has fined regional network TV Leskovac Dinar 300,000 ($5,200) and its editor-in-chief Mirjana Dimitrijevic $860 for airing a statement by the opposition Democratic Party of Serbia criticizing the state of emergency since the March 13 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
Although modest by U.S. standards, the fines are a stiff punishment in an economy where the average monthly salary is less than $200 a month.
The government lashed out at TV Leskovac for violating the press limitations demanding that media outlets air only state-sanctioned press releases concerning martial law and the probe into Djindjic’s murder.
Media rights groups have criticized the government for overstepping the hardline tenets of martial law.
“This means that a TV network can be punished for the opinion, a political view, of a guest on one of its shows,” read a statement from the Journalists’ Assn of Serbia.