Tanja Milevska, journalist and correspondent in MIA (Media Information Agency), received death
threats and sexist insults on Twitter and later on Facebook, because of her public stands
expressed on social networks. The case was reported to the police, but no charges have been
raised so far.
On July, 11 th Milevska received dozens of verbal abuses, hate speech, death and rape threats on
social network after she tweeted asking whether Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the
European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament recognize the constitutional change
of 2019 making “North Macedonia” the country’s official name.
Following the tweets, trolls and active political figures have been fuelling threats to discredit the journalist in the context of parliamentary election to be held on Wednesday 15 July.
Senior official of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Gani Koci, has used insulting language against journalist Jeta Xharra.
Koci, through a post published on the social network Facebook, called Serbian skeptic tanks that should be closed with concrete, some personalities, including the BIRN’s journalist, Jeta Xharra.
“Time has come not to disinfect, but to close these Serbian septic tanks that remain in Kosovo. They are stinking a lot”, he wrote.
Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), through a reaction, strongly condemned the language used by Gani Koci, and called on all political officials to stop attacks on journalists, in order for their work to serve public opinion and democratic development of society.
Such pressures are detrimental not only to the work of journalists, but also to democracy in the country. Journalists have the right to do their job freely, without fearing labels of this nature.
During June 2020, the journalist was threatened with a death threat in a private message on Facebook by a person registered as Ivo Bucim.
In the message, the perpetrator wrote that he was supposed to strangle the journalist when he saw him using extremely abusive words on his close family.
Photographer and journalist of Juzne vesti were verbally attacked in the yard of the elementary school “Stefan Nemanja” in Nis, when they photographed people with voting lists in front of a polling station.
Journalists noticed people holding papers with tables with certain lists with names and data in them. After being asked what was on those lists and the lady’s answer, the photographer took a picture. The question and photos infuriated the persons who carried the lists with the names and surnames of people, addresses and telephone numbers.
Shortly afterward, a person who introduced himself as the husband of the woman who was asked the questions tried to hijack the camera and verbally attacked the journalists. It was an older man who was persistently trying to snatch the camera from the hands of the photojournalist of Juzne vesti, Matija Gacic, while threateningly saying “you are playing a hotshot ?” and “delete those images.”
The journalists also managed to make an audio recording that captured the moment of the attack. Journalist Mitic says that swearing followed, but also threats such as “I’ll break your legs”.
After an oral report by phone, the police quickly went to the field, took a statement from the attacked journalist and photographer, and then found the attacker himself, who was calmly leaving the yard of the “Stefan Nemanja” Elementary School, where the incident took place.
Journalist Sasa Mikic was physically attacked and beaten while doing his journalistic work.
At around 4 pm on June 21, Radio DIR journalist Sasa Mikic came to the local polling station to report on the voting process in Kikinda. He introduced himself and showed his journalistic identification, asking for a statement from the president of the polling board at that polling station. The president first received him in an improvised office, but without any special intention to further communicate with the journalist. As Mikic was leaving the polling station, three men were waiting for him in the hallway of the room, grabbed his hands and roughly pulled him out. According to his statement, two men were holding him, and the third hit him directly in the face, followed by blows all over his body, leaving cuts and bruises. During the attack, Mikić was pushed to the edge of the yard, where he was covered in blood, verbally insulted by one of the men whom the journalist managed to photograph.
In the meantime, the attack was reported and the police arrived at the scene of the incident very quickly and took a statement from the attacked journalist. After receiving medical assistance at the hospital, Mikic was called to the police station to identify three men from the persons who were called to report to the station, but he did not recognize the attackers in the identification process.
Journalist of Glas Zajecar, Miljko Stojanovic was verbally attacked and prevented from entering the premises of the local community in the village of Vratarnica in order to attend the pre-election rally of the Serbian Progressive Party.
Miljković was first prevented from entering the premises of the local community by two people who introduced themselves as security and asked him to return from the front door to the yard of the local community. After that, a member of the city council, Vukasin Lakicevic, and the person representing the security, or the guard, Drazen Kovijanic, entered the yard of the local community. Lakicevic verbally attacked Miljko Stojanovic, saying that he could not attend the SPS pre-election rally. After a short awkward conversation and calling out at Lakićević and the people accompanying him, Lakićevic finally sent a threatening message to Stojanović not to touch his family, alluding to an earlier police announcement about the event in which his brother was involved, which Stojanovic reported in the media in which he works.
Stojanović stated that the incident was also attended by police officers in civilian clothes who watched what was happening without any reaction. The case was reported to the police, who took statements and started collecting data.
On June 17, 2020. in the afternoon hours, journalist Nidžara Ahmetašević tried to photograph a police action and the arrest of migrants in a Sarajevo neighborhood. According to Ahmetašević, on that occasion the police officers verbally attacked her, behaved unprofessionally and threatened her with a misdemeanor report because she “interferes with their work”. Although she showed them journalistic accreditation, they did not want to accept it as a valid document and, as she stated, they asked her for a “work permit”. Finally, they wrote down the records of her and her friend.
Shkumbin Kajtazi, journalist of reporteri.net portal reported that an unknown person attempted to set his car on fire.
Kajtazi, through a post on his Facebook account, announced that last night on “Evlia Çelebia” street in Mitrovica, a person has tried to burn his car with gasoline. According to the journalist, this act was prevented by the residents of this street, who had also notified the Kosovo Police.
AJK has publicly reacted through a press release.
Such threats for the Association of Journalists of Kosovo are completely unacceptable, for they seriously violate freedom of expression and endanger the climate of journalism in Kosovo.
An unknown man confiscated the phone of the journalist of the portal KRIK, Bojana Pavlovic, at around ten o’clock in the evening on June 10, after she photographed the son of the President of Serbia, Danilo Vucic, watching a football derby in a cafe in Belgrade in the company of Aleksandar Vidojevic. As confirmed to IJAS, Bojana Pavlovic noticed them sitting together in a cafe, took photos of them from the street, and left. She was soon stopped by three men who introduced themselves as officials. Pavlovic showed her journalist ID, but they told her that she had to wait for the patrol and that she would “most likely be detained”. The police officers were then joined by two other unknown men and one of the newcomers snatched her phone from her hand, to which the police officers not only did not react but, according to the journalist, moved away from the scene almost imperceptibly. After a short discussion, her phone was returned to her, but only after it was approved by Aleksandar Vidojevic, who also approached the journalist Pavlović.
The KRIK journalist writes articles about the war of criminal clans in Serbia and Montenegro. Vidojevic is being tried for demolishing a nightclub, and according to KRIK, he is noted in the Serbian police base as a member of the Montenegrin Kavac clan.
The case is an example of well-founded suspicions of committing various acts, but also of a severe form of pressure on journalist Bojana Pavlovic. The competent authorities and the Permanent Working Group for the Safety of Journalists were informed about the incident.