We, civil society organizations and media representatives, strongly condemn the hate speech directed at N1 and Nova S television by the deputies at the session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on Wednesday, December 2.

In her speech, the Member of the Assembly of Serbia, Biljana Pantic Pilja, marked these two cable televisions as “anti-Serbian” and that they can be described with the words “foreign mercenary, domestic traitor”.

This is just another in a series of actions that make the National Assembly a testing ground for unfounded accusations and attacks on independent media, prominent individuals and all those who have a critical attitude towards society in Serbia today, instead of being a place to serve as an example to citizens. Serbia in the way of conducting an open and tolerant discussion on issues that are most important for their lives.

Earlier absence of condemnation of hate speech uttered by MPs of the ruling parties, whose targets were prominent public figures, such as Jelisaveta Seka Sablic, threatens to “normalize” this type of speech, making it socially acceptable. Targeting the media, journalists and other public figures in the National Parliament that are broadcast live on RTS creates a hostile environment that ultimately leads to death threats and physical attacks. This is evidenced by the number of incidents committed to the detriment of journalists in 2020, recorded in the database of attacks and pressure on journalists of the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (27 physical attacks, 47 threats, 10 attacks on property and 83 pressures). Thus, Serbia is taking a shortcut to an extremely intolerant and polarized society with unforeseeable consequences.

We note that all this is happening on the day when the members of the Working Group for drafting the Action Plan for the Strategy for the Development of the Public Information System in Serbia for the period from 2020 to 2025 handed over the document to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who announced the formation of a new working group. for the safety and protection of journalists, emphasizing that the safety of journalists is a red line that the Government of Serbia will not tolerate.

For that reason, we call on the National Assembly of Serbia, and above all the President of the Assembly of Serbia, the Prime Minister of Serbia and representatives of the parties in the Assembly to condemn the hate speech of their deputies and to work persistently to improve the culture of dialogue in the Assembly as the highest representative body.

We will inform international organizations and institutions dealing with the protection of freedom of expression about this and similar incidents.

Signatories:

  1. Online Media Association
  2. Belgrade Center for Security Policy
  3. Belgrade Center for Human Rights
  4. Bureau of Social Research
  5. Business Info Group
  6. CANVAS
  7. Center for European Policies
  8. Center for Practical Policy
  9. Rule of Law Center
  10. European Movement in Serbia
  11. Humanitarian Law Center
  12. Civic initiatives
  13. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
  14. Youth Initiative for Human Rights
  15. Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights
  16. Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK)
  17. National Coalition for Decentralization
  18. Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia
  19. Protecta
  20. Vojvodina Civic Center
  21. The Network of the Committees for Human Rights in Serbia CHRIS
  22. Committee for Human Rights Niš
  23. Centar za podršku ženama
  24. Mreža SOS Vojvodina
  25. Portal IST media Bor
  26. Centar za primenjene evropske studije – CPES
  27. EKONEC portal
  28. Nepušački Edukativni Centar – RP
  29. CINS
  30. Podrinjski Anti-Korupcijski Tim PAKT
  31. UG Zlatiborski krug
  32. UG Obrazovanje plus
  33. Udruženje Lilit
  34. Udruženje Stara Planina
  35. Udruženje Fenomena
  36. Užički centar za prava deteta
  37. URBAN-In