July 5, 2024

05.07.2024 – Vandalism Strikes OK Radio Cafe Multiple Times in Recent Years

On the morning of 30 June 2024, an unknown individual or group, smashed the window of the former “No Comment” cafe, associated with OK Radio (https://www.okradio.rs/) from Vranje, Serbia. This incident marks yet another act of vandalism against the OK Radio in the past two and a half years. Due to several attacks, vandalism and intimidation, the cafe is closed since August 2022. The premises of OK Radio are located in that cafe, and the work of the radio was financed from the cafe income.

In April 2022, unknown perpetrators broke the cafe’s windows in the early morning hours. Despite having security camera footage, the culprits remain unidentified.

In early June of the same year, an individual entered the cafe in the afternoon and destroyed the entire interior with paint sprayed from a disperser. A week later, a wall was erected in front of the OK Radio window. Till today it was not removed.

As next step Veran Matić, the president of the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM), who is also member of the Permanent Working Group for Security of Journalists in Serbia, was attacked in June 2022 because of his public support for OK Radio. Posters with his photo were put up in the city. The posters state that Matić is “demolishing” around the city.

The earlier destruction of OK Radio’s property is linked to one person, who allegedly wanted to buy the premises of OK Radio. Following several separate trials, one individual was sentenced to 14 months in prison for violent behavior towards OK radio owner Olivera Vladković and financial director Svetlana Ivanova, as well as to a year and a half for endangering their safety and threatening journalists who attended the trial.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the repeated acts of vandalism against the OK Radio and the persistent intimidation of its staff and owner. These malicious actions, which have escalated over the past two and a half years, represent a blatant attack on the freedom of the press in south Serbia and the safety of media workers. SEEMO will be closely monitoring this situation and urges the authorities to take immediate and effective measures to identify and prosecute the perpetrators, ensuring the protection of media institutions and their right to operate without fear of violence or harassment.

You can read the previous SEEMO article about this case here: https://seemo.org/ressources/10-07-2023-protection-of-local-media-in-serbia-case-ok-radio/

The 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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