April 1, 2024

01.04.2024 – Serbian Journalist Threatened After Investigating Park Development

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the threats made against journalist Gordana Momčilović Ilić from Stara Pazova, Serbia who was threatened after gathering data from municipal institutions regarding the legality of setting up facilities on the green area of a local public park.

Momčilović Ilić recounted to Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS – Udruženje novinara Srbije, www.uns.org.rs/) that on 27 March 2024, while standing on the street next to her bicycle, a car pulled up from which a woman emerged and threatened to kill her if she mentioned her brother again. “I was taken aback. I didn’t even get a chance to respond. As she left the parking lot, I managed to take a photo of the car to have its vehicle registration plate,” Momčilović Ilić told UNS.

She explained that for nearly two months she has been investigating and gathering documents under the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance regarding the cementing of green areas in the park and the installation of a 150-square-meter container. She emphasized that she had never mentioned anyone’s name during her investigation.

She began receiving messages on her personal Instagram profile praising the convenience of having a place to drink good coffee. “It’s not about coffee; I tried to explain the legality when someone addressed me on my personal Instagram profile. The question is about legality,” said the journalist to UNS. Momčilović Ilić reported the death threat to the police and gave a statement to the prosecutor’s office.

Gordana Momčilović Ilić is an anthropologist and ethnologist. In addition to her journalist work, she is also engaged in visual documentary work. She is a freelancer and writes articles for balkans.aljazeera (https://balkans.aljazeera.net/). You can read her articles here: https://balkans.aljazeera.net/author/gordana-momcilovic

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the threats made against journalist Gordana Momčilović Ilić in Stara Pazova following her investigation about setting up a object in the local public park. Journalists must be able to conduct their work without fear of intimidation or violence. We stand in full support of UNS and Gordana Momčilović Ilić, advocating for press freedom and the safety of journalists. Such attacks not only undermine the fundamental principles of democracy but also obstruct the public’s right to information. SEEMO calls for swift and thorough action from Serbian authorities to investigate these threats and ensure the safety of journalists in Serbia. You can see the UNS article here: https://www.uns.org.rs/saopstenja/158206/uns-tuzilastvo-da-pokrene-postupak-zbog-pretnji-novinarki-gordani-momcilovic-ilic-iz-stare-pazove.html

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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