Text: Žikica Milošević
Photo: Mladen Sekulić
RT Vojvodina has, after the Provincial elections this spring, undergone some personal changes, which affected management and some of the famous TV faces, resulting in cancelling some popular TV shows. These events triggered the street protests and web protests called #PodržiRTV or „Support RTV“. We talked with one of the leaders of the movement, ex-editor of the morning programme, Milica Kravić.
The problem with public services is that they are not properly understood. In the interview with Salim Mukaddam, the BBC director, I made a mistake and mentioned „state-owned TV“ and he corrected me, saying „public owned TV, state or goverment has nothing to do with BBC“. It is common, however that in this part of the world people confuse the two. Why?
It is the essence of the problem. The main problem is that it cannot be understood by the new managment of RTV. Exactly 10 years ago RTV became a public service and it ceased to be a state TV. After much changes, it finally, some two years ago, reached a level that should be reached and became a real public TV with a good programme. It takes time. It had to have versatile programme and does not have to suck up to the sponsors, like commercial TV, or the state, like the state TV. The public service should not be responsible to the government but to the viewers and some regulatory bodies, which, regrettably, lost our trust recently. You have to have programme for elderly, for kids, for everyone. We managed to get there. Some people said that RTV was the closest to the ideal of public service. It is far from ideal, however. There were and there are still, lazy bugs, but at least for us who really worked, it was allowed to work. Now it stopped. Now the one who is good at work is not allowed, but the one who is suitable. One night 14 to 16 people from the informative programme were acquitted, it is horrible, has never happened before. BBC has no pressure of that kind. The new management did not even know the definition of public service, we have heard it from their speeches. The state made clear censorship, boke the law, sacked Arežina, the director, which proves they have no clue what a public service is. It is independent and paid by citizens. We are on the road to become once again a state TV.
RTV became much better than RTS and the people from Central Serbia started to watch it regularly, to wake up in the morning to see and hear you. „Državni posao“ became popular, and the TV became more influential than any other TV station.
Yes, it was an awakening of a formerly small TV station and turning into a creative giant. The people started to watch it and listen to O-Radio because quality always finds its buyer. We had a splendid communication with the viewers through social networks. I cannot say how many people started to watch RTV recently but I am sure there were quite many. We became a model TV, we had revolutionary topics, religion, sexuality, nationality, no taboos. We wanted to reach the auditorium in the morning programme, since everyone watches it. I was proud of the series and film programme, they were really engaged and good, no senseless stuff. No old stuff like Vojvodinians eat and drink a lot, Hungarians are always in red boots etc. It was real life, not a filmset. Vojvodinians have their life problems. No stereotypes. I feel nostagic, since we worked for peanuts but with enthusiasm.
Yes, in 2010 I mentioned that I watch basically RTV because of good series – Master and Margarita, House of Cards, Hero of Our times. There were some people who could recognise quality.
If public service does not do it, nobody will do it. It is their task. And we should talk about the results. Their result was excellent. I feel that there is injustice, since we are nobody’s people, free thinkers, and therefore we are easy targets and endangered.
Is it, for the persons that rule, to have honest opinion from their employees and the citizens in general, or to have the yes-sayers, who will go with the flow? If you say truth, they will have a clear picture of the situation.
I showed my opinion by taking to the streets. Better friend is the one who tells you the truth. We got to the streets so that they would know what we think. It is my attitude, I won’t hide it. I meet colleagues that feel ashamed because of it all. I am not ashamed. Some people don’t understand that the sycophants are not good friends. I will never be one. I stood up, said „No! You are not doing the right thing.“ They came here very arrogantly. I don’t defent any party or a person, I defend quality. The morning programme, since we were ousted, decimated its viewers. Now they don’t even want to hear the results of viewership. It is disastrous. It illustrates it all. I was not sacked but tranferred to the radio.
Now the protests, after the spring wave, have settled down, but you changed the way of your struggle?
Yes, we have formed a new platform. We became a citizens’ movement, called Citizens’ Front. My wish is to defend the public interest, pulbic resources, we want to defend the right to live decently. There is a wide range of organisations from all around Serbia. My wish is that we should all be united and reach our goal. We united 7 different organisations. It is very big at the local level. They showed in Niš that protests can be useful – they lowered the gas prices. Like in Poland, with the abortion law. It shows us that the protest are not futile! We are not giving up. We have to fight for the people who bring quality, not politically dependent people. Professionalism first.