The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, representing more than 7800 members, strongly condemns the death threat to Croatian Television (public media service) reporter Maja Sever.
She published at her Facebook threat she received, as she said, sent to her due to her story about refugees broadcasted on October 29. Along with offences and other abusive expressions the author of the message wrote: „If you want to live with Niggers, go live in England, France or USA, but do not promote that Freemason’s multicultural politics in Croatia.“ The message ended by mentioning execution. Maja Sever said that the message was sent by Croat living in Belgium.
Sasa Lekovic, Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) president, stated that threats and offences against Maja Sever were just the latest episodes of pressures against journalists, including even death threats, physical violence and even attempted murders.
In a last four years, CJA has documented 39 cases of threats and attacks against journalists in last years, but just some of them have been taken to court (court procedures are still on) or have been sanctioned.
In most of those solved cases, perpetrators did not even hide their identity. In other cases neither CJA nor attacked journalist got information about investigations; sometimes not even if they have been opened.
„We inform Croatian public, international journalists’ organizations and others dealing with media freedom about every case of attacking journalists and we call for an effective and prompt reaction of Croatian institutions“, says Lekovic. But he also states there is no political will to solve cases of attacked journalists. “Even more some of the politicians do additionally offend them by accepting attacks and that is clear message to relevant institutions not to take the protection of journalists seriously“, Lekovic added.
The Platform will send letters of concern to all relevant authorities in Croatia requesting them to prevent any form of violence against journalists, to urgently and thoroughly investigate all facts about this and other cases of violations. By doing so they will send a strong message to the public that such behavior is not acceptable. Also, The Platform will report the case to the Mapping media freedom Platform and Council of Europe to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists.
The Regional Platform strongly supports the Croatian Journalists Association and its efforts to protect journalists and freedom of speech. The Platform also calls on international organizations dealing with the protection of press freedom and the rights of journalists to induce relevant authorities to investigate the recent and other cases.
Attacking journalists is a direct attack on freedom of expression and the right of citizens to be informed. In 2017, Croatian Journalists Association recorded 11 attacks and threats on journalists.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Prishtina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, 31.10.2017.
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association Serbia