September 13, 2006


Vienna, 13/09/2006


Dragan Jocic

Minister of Interior of the Republic of Serbia

Belgrade, Serbia

Your Excellency,

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is alarmed at the recent death threats received by a journalist in Serbia and the dismissive reaction of the police.

According to information before SEEMO, on the night of 18 August, Slavica Jovanovic, a journalist from Macvanski Prnjavor, received death threats by telephone from an anonymous male voice telling her that she will die and that she should move away. This was not the first time that Jovanovic has been threatened, and in the past, her family members have been physically attacked.

SEEMO was also informed that the local police refused to allow Jovanovic to file an official complaint. Indeed, it was only after the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) intervened on her behalf that the police agreed to give her proper protection.

SEEMO views these threats as a very serious violation of press freedom and journalists’ rights. We ask Your Excellency to do everything in your power to protect the life of the journalist and her family members, as well as to investigate why the local police failed to react immediately.

As SEEMO noted in its press release of 30 August, the situation in Serbia is very alarming because the number of threats and attacks on journalists has risen in recent months. SEEMO would also like to remind Your Excellency that an open media environment allowing for the free flow of information is a fundamental principle of any democratic society.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Vujovic

SEEMO Secretary General