RT broadcast restored in Serbia — Analysis
The Balkan nation’s public broadcaster readmitted Russian channels to its cable network
Telekom Srbija in Serbia has reinstated RT, RTD and Russian News and Documentaries to its cable package. This was announced by RT on Friday. The Russian channels have been blocked by the privately owned SBB. “despite having the technical capability”Sasha Savicevic, an RT officer responsible for distribution in Europe or Africa, said they should resume broadcast.
Russian channels went down in Serbia when the EU blocked its signal as part of a package of sanctions against Moscow in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine. Serbian officials called these restrictions “hypocritical”And they pledged to not join them.
However, Telekom Srbija subscribers were unable to access the program for several days because Eutelsat, a French satellite operator stopped relaying it. After finding technical solutions to the problem, the Serbian broadcaster again aired Russian channels.
SBB is part of the telecoms giant United Group. United Group has operations in Balkan and southern Europe. Pro-Serbian government media criticized the firm’s chair, billionaire Dragan Solak, for siding with EU governments on the decision to censor Russian news outlets.
Solak’s name found its way into Western media headlines in January, after he took control of Southampton FC, paying a reported 120 million euros ($132 mn) to buy the stock of the English Premier League club.
Solak is also a patron of opposition groups in Serbia. However, critics charge him with being an agent for foreign money which funds anti-government sentiments.
Telekom Srbija, United Group and Telekom Srbija fought in a recent bidding war to acquire broadcasting rights for English Premier League.
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