The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) urges authorities in Serbia to take action and protect journalists and their safety, after three separate attacks on media workers occurred on 31 May.
During the inauguration of the new president of Serbia Aleksandar Vuvic in the main Parliament building in Belgrade, journalist Lidija Valtner from the daily Danas was attacked by persons “in black shirts” as she reported. Valtner was taking a statement from an anti-government protester on the street when they were approached and physically attacked. When the journalist tried to record the assault on the protester, the men threatened to take her phone.
Simmilar was the attacke when a reporter of the portal Espresso.rs was attacked. She tried to interview a anti-government protester. She was threatened with seizure of equipment and physical harm and had to cease reporting.
A journalist and photo-reporter from media outlets Insajder and Vice were attacked when they attempted to film a group of men breaking a protest sign with statements against the new president, who until recently was the prime minister. Journalists were shuffled, threatened by passersby, and had their IDs checked by members of the police.
According to the journalists the police was not checking the IDs of the individuals who attacked the journalists.
“We condemn these attacks and ask authorites in the country to begin an investigation and punish the assaulters accordingly” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO secretary general said.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.