January 9, 2024

09.01.2024 – SEEMO Condemns Threats Against Journalist in Serbia

On 27 December 2023, an individual made explicit threats on the Facebook page of Cenzolovka (https://www.cenzolovka.rs/), a news portal that informs the public about issues of importance for media freedom in Serbia. The portal was founded by the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation in Serbia in 2014. The individual allegedly stated that journalists should be taken to the basement and ‘kill the god within them,’ further advocating to ‘kill all of you.’ The individual allegedly specified, ‘journalists supporting the destruction of state property and all leftist in Serbia should be eliminated swiftly.’ After one other Facebook user warned the author of the threats that what he was doing is criminal crime, the threats were deleted.

These menacing comments were posted under an article addressing how journalists can safeguard their data on their phones during a protest, should they be apprehended. The article in question can be found here: https://www.cenzolovka.rs/pritisci-i-napadi/mali-vodic-za-izvestace-sa-protesta-kako-zastititi-osetljive-podatke-sa-vaseg-telefona-ako-vas-policija-privede/

Cenzolovka has faced threats also in the past, like in 2017 when their former journalist and deputy editor-in-chief, Marija Vučić, received serious threats after publishing an article about far-right extremists disrupting the screening of the film “Albanians Are Our Sisters” in Niš, Serbia. The article detailing the threats can be accessed here: https://www.cenzolovka.rs/pritisci-i-napadi/pretnje-niskih-ekstremista-sad-ce-doci-vucicevo-obezbedjenje-oni-znaju-sa-novinarima/

Despite such intimidation, Cenzolovka is dedicated to reporting every threat to the authorities and demands the identification and prosecution of those responsible. In this recent case, a prompt response from the Prosecution is expected.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the recent threats directed at Cenzolovka. These reprehensible acts of intimidation undermine the principles of free media and journalist safety. SEEMO emphasizes the importance of journalists’ ability to work without fear of threats or violence and calls for a thorough investigation into the matter. Journalists must be allowed to fulfill their professional duties without interference, and any attempts to silence them through intimidation are unacceptable. SEEMO stands in solidarity with Cenzolovka and urges authorities to take swift action to ensure the safety and well-being of journalists reporting on crucial issues.

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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