July 14, 2023

14.07.2023 – Call for Representatives of the Ruling Party in Serbia to Cease Targeting Media in a Dangerous Manner

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the recent incidents of targeting and threating journalists working at TV N1, TV Nova S, and the newspaper Nova in Serbia by one member of the Main Committee of the Serbian Progressive Party, who is also one of the primary representatives of a leading company in Serbia, co-owned by the State of Serbia.

This individual shared on social media a video titled “Stop Foreign Propaganda”, specifically targeting journalists from TV N1, TV Nova S, and the newspaper Nova.

In recent times, there have been several cases where high level representatives of the ruling party in Serbia have consistently focused their attention on journalists associated with critical media in Serbia.

SEEMO holds the belief that such actions pose a direct threat to the safety of journalists, leading to an extremely delicate situation where direct attacks on journalists become a possibility. This risk is especially heightened when such rhetoric originates from public officials who are expected to act as exemplary figures for the public. Given the current difficulties, SEEMO calls upon government representatives and the Parliament in Serbia to adopt measures aimed at alleviating tensions rather than intensifying them.

It is noteworthy that Serbia has legislation in place to address hate speech, as outlined in various legal frameworks such as the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, the Law on Public Information and Media, the Law on Electronic Media, and relevant sections of the Criminal Code. These legal provisions serve to establish the accountability for hate speech within the country.

Based on the database [ https://www.bazenuns.rs/srpski ] maintained by the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS) regarding attacks and pressures on journalists in 2023, it has been noted that by mid-June, a substantial portion of the 39 recorded cases of pressure were linked to public officials.

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