SERBIA: SEEMO concerned after several incidents of oppression against media workers in Serbia

SERBIA, SERBIA, 17/04/2017, 09:45

Vienna, 17 April 2017 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was concerned to learn that during the previous week several cases of threats, attacks and media freedom violations have occurred against media workers in Serbia. 

TV journalist and talk show host Tatjana Vojtehovski informed on 10 April via social media that an unknown person left a handwritten threat directed at her, found on a tree in a park in Belgrade. The note claims that the journalist was “being paid by Zaev and Taci* to tear down the wall with Serbian martyrs”*. The note also included insinuations of shooting Vojtehovski. The journalist reported the threat to the police and suspects it is tied to her open support of the ongoing protests in Serbia following the recent presidential elections.

*(Zoran Zaev is the political leader of the opposition party in Macedonia; Hashim Thaçi is the President of Kosovo).

SEEMO members were also disturbed to learn that Nedim Sejdinovic, president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, received dozens of death threats through social media in the previous several days. Threats from anonymous individuals began arriving after Aleksandar Martinovic, member of the ruling party SNS, made several slanderous public statements against Sejdinovic, pinning him as allegedly being one of the organizers of the current anti-government protests in several cities in Serbia.

SEEMO also harshly condemns today’s statement of Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy, after saying that he will “request the dismissal of the entire board of directors of the public broadcaster RTS”. The reason behind this demand, he stated, is that RTS began reporting about the anti-government protests that have been occurring in Serbia in the previous two weeks. RTS was initially criticized by the public after they stayed silent about the demonstrations, but now the Minister claims the managerial board should be dismissed after they giving air time to demonstrators. SEEMO members remind Minister Vulin that RTS is a public broadcaster, meaning that no state interest or opinions should be cast upon what the independent, censorship-free broadcaster should air and report on. 

SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.

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