Vienna, 12 September 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed discontent after latest developments in hate speech and attacks against journalists in Serbia.
A high level official of the Democratic Party (DS) made statements on his Twitter account yesterday, 11 September, which could be interpreted as threats to journalists. While allegedly criticizing the current political situation in the country, The politician alluded that along with “bots” (supporters of the ruling party), certain journalists should also “be dragged out of their houses by their ears”.
Another incident provoked by political views occurred on Friday, 11 September, when Nedim Sejdinovic, President of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina made comments about the political regime of the 1990’s in Serbia, at a round table in Sombor. He noted that key political players today and those from the past are similar and that the level of business, corruption and crime in political structures remained the same. After he was quoted, comment sections on several news portals filled up with defamatory statements, slurs and threats. Sejdinovic also received several threats from anonymous individuals on Facebook, telling him allegedly to “leave while he can” and threatening his life and safety.
“We call on authorities to not only protect media workers that are being threatened and attacked, but also penalize those who amongst them that, as politicians, see it fit to use hate speech and endanger the safety of journalists. Institutions in Serbia must not tolerate either of these media freedom violations” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said.
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.