Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Day of "Odbrana" Media Centre

On the occasion of the Day of "Odbrana" Media Centre and marking the 133rd anniversary of the existence of military press in these parts, a ceremony has been held in the Grand Hall of the Serbian Military Club today. This military press house celebrates the 24th January to commemorate the day when in 1879 the first issue of the Serbian military paper "Ratnik" was published whose tradition is continued with the "Odbrana" magazine.

The ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac, Serbian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Ljubisa Dikovi?, representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces, the guests from the cultural and public life of the capital, as well as the associates and friends of the Editorial Office.

On that occasion, the traditional awards were given to the winner of the competition for the journalism prize "Ivan Markovic", award for the best TV show which promoted the defence system in 2011, awards for the most successful journalists and collaborators of the "Odbrana" magazine and to the best athlete and the sports team of the Serbian Armed Forces in 2011. Special recognition was given to Corporal Branislav Jankovic from the River Flotilla, this year's winner of Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross at Ada, and to the football team "Heavenly Angels" from Vranje for the sports results and promotion of civil – military cooperation.

Minister Sutanovac gave a special press award to Veselin Grozdanic and Maca Pop Ceni? from the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS), for the realization of direct broadcasting of the promotion ceremony for new officers of the Serbian Armed Forces, on RTS, on 10 September 2011. The Public Relations Department gave the award of the Ministry of Defence for the best promotional television programme to the team that has so far completed six direct television broadcasts of the promotion ceremony of new officers of the Serbian Armed Forces, which was seen every year by more than a million viewers.

Congratulating the 133rd anniversary of the military press, and also the awarded ones on their awards, the Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac pointed out that the special award went to the right hands, because it is the largest state ceremonial.

- I am very pleased that each year we give awards to those who deserved them and I think that it is an important driving factor when in the system where you are working the result is recognized and adequately rewarded. It seems to me that we have managed to make it lately in an adequate manner, creating a new spirit and that those who give themselves can expect from the system to give them back – Sutanovac said.

When we are talking about the "Odbrana" Media Centre, as Minister Sutanovac emphasized, it means that we are talking about the Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Defence and all the people in the Armed Forces and the units who work with Media Centre, through a spokesperson that each brigade has and those who communicate with the military in any way.

- The year behind us was marked by a high presence of our military in the public. The fact that less than a thousand articles that we published in our issues, especially in "Odbrana", were transmitted in media speaks about the fact that we have adequate and timely information. On the other hand, a new form of communication that has existed for many years is the Internet communication over which we get through to that part of the citizenry wishing to communicate in that way, so we have more than six thousand visitors on the website of our Ministry and the Armed Forces – the Defence Minister assessed, adding that it is an enormous fortune, bearing in mind that in the era of modern technologies in the 21st century, if something is not released to public and is not present in the media is as if nothing happened.

It is very important, Minister Sutanovac underlined, that the activities of our military, such as the clearing of snow today with participation of the Fourth Army Brigade of the Serbian Armed Forces, come to our citizens in a form of information.

According to him, the year behind us was marked by defence reforms, and the year that is ahead of us will be marked both by the reform of the pension system, as well as the new form of health care funding. All this, as he put it, would not come to the public if there is no real communication and timely information from the system for all the active and the retired members of the defence system.

- In addition, last year we had a series of cultural events related to the defence system, to which we pay considerable attention, although we are primarily oriented to the defence system. That is because we think that the defence of our society includes also the defence of our culture. A significant contribution to it was made by the "Stanislav Bini?ki" Orchestra and the Representative Guard Orchestra – Minister Sutanovac emphasized.

He took the opportunity to highlight the particular enterprise by Corporal Jankovic who was the first to swim to Epiphany Cross, and the motto of being the first is what should be associated with all the members of the Serbian Armed Forces.

Speaking about the plans for the next year, the Minister announced the promotional campaigns for the upcoming celebration of a century of military aviation, University of Defence, as well as the series "Military Academy", which will bring the cadet life to the citizens and thwart the opinions of those who perceive the military as a rigid institution.

At the end of his speech, Minister Sutanovac mentioned the decision to change the Serbian Armed Forces Day, which will be marked in the future on 23rd April, noting that the National Day and the Armed Forces Day should be celebrated separately.

The journalist of the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Branko Stankovic was awarded the journalism prize "Ivan Markovic" for the "Squaring the Circle" programme about the Fourth Army Brigade which was broadcasted on 22nd October 2011 on the first channel of RTS; it was presented to him by Colonel Milivoje Pajovic, Head of Public Affairs Department. By this traditional award, "Odbrana" Media Centre keeps the memory of one of the most talented military reporters and editors at the "Vojska" (Military) magazine, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 43.

The "Ivan Markovic" journalism award jury included Snjezana Milivojevic, Full Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, who was the Jury President, Milan Galovic, Editor of "Politika" newspaper, Vera Potparic, Editor at "Fonet" Agency, Ana Miletic, a representative of the Public Relations Department and Vladimir Ristic, a former journalist of the "National Army" and "Military" journals.

Award for the most successful collaborator in the past year was given to Sebastian Baloš, PhD, from Novi Sad. The award given by the Editorial Office of the "Odbrana" Magazine coincided with his small jubilee – a decade of cooperation with our magazines - first the "Military" and then "Odbrana". The author, who has published so far 121 contributions in the columns "Technique" and "Arsenal", was presented the award by Editor-in-Chief Radenko Mutavdži?.

Speaking about the "Odbrana" Media Centre, the Director of this institution Lieutenant Colonel Slavoljub Markovic stressed that it is a kind of a creative workshop which, apart from the "Odbrana" magazine, which has been a member of the European Military Press Association since 2006, publishes scientific and professional military journals, then, many military expert, teaching and educational, and publicistic literature, and promotional material necessary for the defence system.

Lieutenant Colonel Markovic said that the "Odbrana" Media Centre will continue in the future to seek to justify the confidence which it gained as a holder of responsibility for news and information and publishing activities in the defence system and that the success in this business is best seen in the number of visitors of the website of the Ministry of Defence as well as the citation rate of the "Odbrana" magazine in the media.

- It is not for us to assess to what extent we were successful in this business in the past year, but this time I wish to stress that we have become a reference source of information in the defence system, which was, after all, outlined in the vision of this house more than five years ago. We endeavour to cherish the long tradition of military publishing so that our readers can identify us by the specific titles and contents of the military literature, and not by the capital works of our and world cultural and spiritual heritage, Colonel Markovic said.

The Director of this house pointed out that he was proud of the fact that the Serbian Military Club hosted numerous events and different activities, like in the Military Club Gallery where a rich painting collection of "Sava Šumanovi?" painting gallery from Sid, the Military Museum, "Momo Kapor" Foundation, "Nadezda Petrovic" Art Gallery and many others were exhibited to the public.

In addition to journalism awards, at today's ceremony the prizes for the best athletic performance were also awarded. President of the Sports Award Jury, State Secretary Zoran Jevtic, Chief of the Serbian delegation to CISM, members Predrag Manojlovic, a representative of the Serbian Olympic Committee, Colonel Zoran Scekic from the Defence Minister's Office, Second Lieutenant Stevan Stojanovic, the best athlete of the Serbian Army in 2010, and Major Vladimir Pocuc, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of "Odbrana" magazine, coordinator of the action, found that the year behind us was marked with great achievements of athletes and sports teams of the Serbian Armed Forces both in the domestic and international competitions.

Trophy and award for the best athlete of the Serbian Armed Forces in the last year, was presented to the shooter Sergeant Dejan Vukojevic, by State Secretary Zoran Jevtic. An officer from the Army Training Centre, who was also a member of the national team in practical shooting, in 2011, won the first place in shooting from a 9mm pistol CZ99 at the Serbian Armed Forces Championship, the first place in practical shooting at the state competition and 63rd placement at the World Practical Shooting Championship among 1,400 participants.

Serbian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Ljubisa Dikovi? presented the trophy and awards to the ski team of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces, who were conferred the title of the most successful team. Captain Daniel Pesic and Sergeant Miroljub Janicijevic, from the Special Brigade, a reserve officer Aleksandar Milosevic and a reserve soldier, Vladimir Mandic, were trained by the military officers Vojko Petkovic and Stevo Rados from the Military Acedemy, in February 2011 at 51st World Military Skiing Championship in Sarajevo, among the 23 teams, won the fourth place in alpine skiing, in the discipline of giant slalom.

As for the special awards, State Secretary Zoran Jevtic presented a special award for the promotion of sports and the development of civil-military cooperation to the Team Captain of the Football Club "Heavenly Angels" from the Fourth Army Brigade from Vranje, Sergeant Dragan Ilic. In 2011, the "Heavenly Angels" won the Pcinja District Cup and championship of Pcinja district league. Sports competitions and gatherings of the Club with athletes from Vranje P?inj area contributed to the improvement of civil-military cooperation between the Fourth Brigade and the Serbs, Albanians, Roma and Bulgarians living in this area.

This year's winner of Epiphany Swimming for Holy Cross at Ada, Corporal Branislav Jankovic from the River Flotilla, the second special award was presented by Major General Milan Bjelica, Deputy Chief of SAF General Staff.