15. feb 2019.

New wave of threats and attacks against journalists and the media

Cable TV news channel 'Television N1', known for its critical reporting of the Serbian authorities, recently received a letter stating that the journalists of this media house would suffer and that the building would be blown up. Following the reactions of international and local journalists' associations, and condemnations arriving from state officials, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, police arrested and remanded into custody a suspect believed to have issued the threats.

The first half of February also saw threats directed towards other media companies and journalists who write critically about the current government. The threats were mostly issues via social networks, but to date no arrests hhave been made.

Nedim Sejdinović, President of the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV), and Dragan Janjić, Editor-in-Chief of news agency Beta, have both had insults and threats directed towards them via the Facebook page Srbija NAŠA zemlja [Serbia OUR country], from which Janjić received a death threat a year ago.

Sejdinović, along with Dinko Gruhonjić, NDNV programming editor, and Igor Besermenji, a columnist of NDNV-published portal ‘Autonomija’, found themselves targetted by the obscure portal ‘istraga.rs’, which described them as people who advocate for Vojvodina’s secession from Serbia.

Threats and insults were also received by Sava Majstorov, editor of local Sombor-based portal Soinfo, and Novi Sad-based freelance journalist and blogger Igor Mihaljević.

The publication Palež from Belgrade’s suburban municipality of Obrenovac, published articles filled with hate speech directed towards the portals Cenzolovka and Istinomer, as well as the CRTA organisation and journalists who collaborate with them.

These, however, are only the threats that have been reported, because – as NDNV president Sejdinović says – a large number of journalists don’t report threats, because they don’t trust judicial bodies. He added that these journalists believe deeply that parts of the state structure are behind these threats and fear that their security will be further jeopardised.

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