Initiative A 11 filed a complaint to REM against Studio B television due to racist statements by the host of the show “Morning with Sanja”

The A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights filed a complaint on October 30th, 2020, to the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) against Studio B television, because the host of the show “Morning with Sanja” has presented some inappropriate and racist attitudes aimed at the members of Roma national minority.

In one segment of the show “Morning with Sanja”, which was broadcasted on October 8th, 2020, there was a conversation about solving the problem of garbage removal from Mirijevski potok, a Belgrade watercourse that flows through the settlements Mirijevo, Rospi Ćuprija and part of Karaburma. At a certain moment, a viewer who lives in Rospi Ćuprija joined the live program by a call to present her view of this problem. Although the idea of initiating this topic was to draw attention to the problem of pollution and discuss possible solutions, the host Sanja Lubardić presented some very problematic views that can be characterized as racial discrimination. She stated, among other things, “You have a Roma settlement where waste is collected, and where a good part of that waste is thrown directly into that stream”, “There is no force that can clean up what they can pollute, you know that very well, I know, you know, the whole Belgrade knows. We have been watching this for years”, as well as “Someone has to do something with that Roma settlement already”.  

As this show is broadcasted daily in the morning program, which is very popular, such comments, which advocate racial discrimination, are for every condemnation, especially considering that they are presented by the host, whose task is not only to be impartial and give an objective and a true overview of the facts, but also not to spread inappropriate and discriminatory statements in a live program. 

By broadcasting such content, the editor of the show and TV Studio B have grossly violated the provisions of the Law on Electronic Media, which stipulates that the media service provider is obliged to provide free, truthful and objective information, that the content has to be such to contribute to raising the general cultural and educational level, and not to abuse the gullibility of viewers and listeners, that the media service must be provided in a manner that respects human rights, and in particular the dignity of the individual, and that it does not contain information that incites, openly or covertly, discrimination, hatred or violence based on race, skin color, nationality, and any other real or assumed personal characteristics.  

In this case, the statements of the host encourage discrimination against Roma national minority, which is already largely marginalized due to the stereotypes that they face every day. Spreading these stereotypes without any facts and evidence contributes to the creation of prejudice and discrimination against the community that is already vulnerable on multiple levels, especially having in mind that this is done publicly, in a popular program with a national frequency, followed by a large number of viewers, who may conclude that such attitudes are “normal” or even desirable.