Three Freedoms Under the Magnifying Glass: September 22 – October 5, 2023

Belgrade, October 5, 2023

Violations of basic freedoms in Serbia

September 22 – October 5, 2023

 

The past two weeks were marked by the attack that took place in Banjska, Kosovo, during which one policeman and three attackers were killed. Media in Serbia, which reported professionally and impartially on the event, found themselves the targets of criticism and attacks from state officials. Placing journalists in the context of “enemies of the state” in turbulent and crisis times is particularly dangerous, and it is the responsibility of high-ranking officials not to encourage such a narrative. Attacks coming from the highest state officials spread a hostile atmosphere that later encourages individuals to target journalists via social media or physically attack them.

During his address to the public, President Aleksandar Vučić accused N1 journalist Sanja Sovrlić of insinuating with her question that Serbia is responsible for the attack on Kosovo police that took place on Sunday, September 24. Vranje committee of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) issued a statement in which Vranje News was labeled as “the newspaper of the terrorist and war criminal Albin Kurti”. Independent Journalists Association of Serbia warns that this kind of rhetoric “directly threatens the safety of journalists and makes them targets of further attacks”.

The President of the Society for Sustainable Future “Steps” Marko Oljača was physically attacked, and the president of the “Dad, this is for you” movement, Petar Đurić, was arrested at an event in Belgrade. The misdemeanor court in Belgrade handed down a verdict in which activist Aida Ćorović was convicted of violating public order and peace, because she threw eggs at a mural of convicted war criminal Ratko Mladić in November 2021.

You can find more details about these cases in the full report below.