The Serbian parliament has postponed a vote on a controversial media censorship bill which has drawn criticism from the public and protests from media and professional associations. Parliament speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic delayed a vote on
the bill until 31 August, after the summer recess, purportedly to allow refurbishment of the parliament building.
The bill introduces draconian fines and possible closure of news organisations which publish slanderous allegations about politicians and other public figures before they have been convicted by a court of law.
Political analysts said the bill aimed to target Belgrade tabloid Kurir but the entire media would be muzzled as a result.
Serbian journalists' association president Ljiljana Smajlovic, of the planned law was a scandalous proposal that would be an atomic bomb dropped by the government on the media. The law would protect the government from the public,
instead of the other way around .
A prominent Belgrade analyst, Slobodan Antonic, agreed: This is not the law of a free, democratic society, it's a law of an authoritarian, oligarchic and repressive regime.