PEN International, in collaboration with various Balkan PEN centres, publishes a report examining the many challenges faced by independent writers and journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia.
On 6 November an unknown individual sent an email with the subject line “Charlie Hebdo of Belgrade” to the editor-in-chief of ‘Danas’, threatening staff with “barrages of bullets” because of its editorial policy. The email named specific journalists as “enemies of the Serbian people” and “traitors”.
On 2 December 2021, four former officials of the Serbian state security services were handed a total of 100 years in prison for the murder of investigative reporter Ćuruvija.
A court sentenced Dragoljub Simonovic, the former mayor of Grocka and a member of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, to four years and three months in jail after finding him guilty of ordering a Molotov cocktail attack on Milan Jovanović’s home.
“We urge the government of Serbia to ensure that journalists are able to go about their work without fear of arrest. Accurate and updated reporting from journalists will be an essential ally of governments in tackling the pandemic.”
Curuvija, who was gunned down by secret police officers during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, had previously been attacked by media allies of Slobodan Milosevic. The man who pulled the trigger was not among the convicted.
Unidentified individuals threw a molotov cocktail through the journalist’s window in the early hours of 12 December, then fired shots to prevent his family fleeing the burning house.
Corruption reporter Cvetkovic went missing on 13 June, prompting a massive police search operation; on 15 June, the President of Serbia announced that the journalist was alive and undergoing police questioning.
Journalist Stefan Cvetkovic is a well-known critic of the local authorities, against whom he filed a complaint of misuse of public funds in 2014, and recently raised questions about the role of the three officials in various criminal matters.
RSF condemns local radio journalist Luka Popov’s murder in northern Serbia and calls on the authorities to do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.
The media accuse the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of putting political pressure on journalists, while Prime Aleksandar Vucic has described the protests as an “attempt to destabilize” Serbia and has called for parliamentary elections in April, two years ahead of schedule.
“The property damage at Human Right House is part of the series of violent attacks against journalists, politicians, academics and open-minded government officials in Serbia,” said Robert Herman, vice-president for international programs. “
Investigative journalist Ivan Ninic was beaten in front of his home as he was locking his car. Ninic is the author of approximately 300 articles and investigative stories – a large number of which were published on the anti-corruption website Pistaljka.
TV B92 has announced that it has decided to indefinitely postpone a program called “Reporter.” Their decision was guided by security concerns and the desire to protect their journalists.