Vienna, 19 September 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep concern for the wellbeing of Vukasin Obradovic (Vukašin Obradović), former president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), who began a hunger strike today.
Obradovic is founder of the weekly paper Vranjske, which he had to declare closed yesterday, 18 September, after weeks of dealing with “financial and political pressures”. According to different sources, Obradovic barricaded himself in the offices of Vranjske and refused to speak to family, coworkers or the media.
The weekly had recently gone through several weeks of interrogation and investigation by tax and other inspectors, finally leading to its closure.
According to Obradovic himself, “this is the move of a desperate man who sees no other way to end his journalistic career and at the same time keep at least the minimum of self respect and dignity necessary to feel like a man, as a human being”.
SEEMO expresses grave concern for our colleague, friend and esteemed journalist, and reminds Obradovic and other journalists in Serbia faced with a difficult media situation that our support is always there. SEEMO has been following the work of Vranjske, a independent local media outlet in an atmosphere of censorship and struggle, for almost two decades and is sorry for its closure, and hopes a different end to this story is possible. "Local media in Serbia are in very hard position. Vranjske is only one example, we have also many other local media in the country with serious problems. The position of professional media in Serbia is very hard, especially of media that are critical about the politicians in power", Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO secretary general 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.