ANEM and the Coalition for Freedom of the Media: Urgently stop the attacks on OK Radio and the property of this media

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The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) expresses great concern over the reckless vandalism that was shown to OK Radio from Vranje in the previous days.

 

ANEM points out that this radio station has probably been under attack by a man who has a criminal record and “who the whole city is afraid of”.

 

The owner of OK Radio reported to the inspection the investor who is building next to their facility without the necessary permits, after which the inspection stopped the illegal works, the ANEM statement reminds and adds:

 

“A month and a half ago, three masked hooligans broke most of the glass in the window of the cafe ” No comment”, which is located within the premises of this radio. Surveillance cameras recorded an incident involving masked men. At that time, the owners of the radio said from the prosecutor’s office that minor material damage had been caused on that occasion, so that the perpetrators could not be prosecuted ex officio.

 

On Wednesday, June 1, a new incident occurred when a person with a bucket of paint on his back entered the premises of a cafe located in common with the OK Radio editorial office and, at a time when there were no guests in this restaurant, sprayed white paint the entire inventory and interior of the building.

 

After this the second act of vandalism, on Friday, June 3, according to the Vranje Police Administration, B. T. (1989) from Vranjska Banja and S. K. (1972) from Vranje were arrested, due to a well-founded suspicion that they committed a crime of violence behavior when they broke into the space of the cafe “No Comment”, which operates within the OK Radio from this city, and sprayed everything in front of them with paint. According to police, B.T. entered the cafe and sprayed the inventory, walls, floors and shop window with white liquid, and then fled. Then S. K. entered the cafe and, as it is suspected, turned on the speakerphone on the phone, through which an unknown man told the employees that they would have problems. The suspects were detained for up to 48 hours, and they will be brought to the Deputy Prosecutor of the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Vranje, along with a criminal report.

 

The third part of this drama happened on Monday, when employees, after coming to work, found the walled windows of one office.

 

The threats to the owners and employees of the radio have been going on for months. An anonymous source from the radio states that the owner has been receiving threats since August that if she does not sign the consent for the construction of the disputed facility, she will “have problems”, “will be destroyed”, “will not work anymore”… The threats were reported, but since they came from a prepaid number, the police did not determine who was sending them.

 

ANEM is appalled by these savage attacks which, for now, have caused considerable material damage to our member. If this continues, it is a matter of days when vandalism will turn into an open physical attack and endanger the lives of OK Radio employees.

 

ANEM provides full support to the owner and employees of OK Radio at a time when arrogant and ruthless thugs obviously want to let everyone know that they are above the law and the legal order of Serbia. Behind the uncivilized behavior, obviously, are illegal actions aimed at endangering and usurping the property and business of OK Radio and the cafe “No Comment”.

 

We hope that the investigative bodies will take all necessary legal actions and thus discourage future attacks.

 

“Faith in the legal system and the democratic order with the expectation that violence, arbitrariness and lawlessness will be stopped and the perpetrators punished appropriately”, which is emphasized in the statement of OK Radio, are the best proof that we still believe that we live in a state governed by the rule of law, which should do everything in its power to strengthen the security of journalists, whose work is endangered by such behavior.

 

“OK Radio has our support because it stands on the defense of the profession and the public interest that someone has decided to trample on. ANEM will not allow that. We also hope for the state”, reads the ANEM statement signed by Veran Matic, President of the Management Board.

 

 

The Coalition for Freedom of the Media joins ANEM in calling for an immediate halt to attacks on OK radio.

 

We demand that the authorities urgently sanction the attackers and those who ordered the attack. We also appeal to the police to protect their property and prevent further persecution and intimidation of the owner and employees of OK Radio.

 

Media Association

Online Media Association (AOM)

Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV)

Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS)

Business Association of Local and Independent Media “Local Press”

Slavko Curuvija Foundation