The Coalition for Media Freedom strongly condemns the threats received by the Program Director of theIndependent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (NDNV), Dinko Gruhonjic, from the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. According to the already seen and tried-and-tested matrix, after Dodik’s qualifications, threats began to arrive on social networks.
Milorad Dodik accused Gruhonjic of “hating Serbs and that this is proof of the worst chauvinism, which serves the purpose of destroying democratic and civic values.”
The reason for the attacks on Gruhonjic was his guest appearance on Television N1, where he spoke, among other things, about the adjudicated cases in Srebrenica.
Soon after the guest appearance, the program director of NDNV started receiving threats via social networks, and Dodik’s accusations were also used to attack TV N1 by demanding a ban on its operation on the territory of the RS.
The Coalition points out to Dodik, but also to all other politicians and government representatives, that freedom of speech, especially when it comes to telling the truth, plays a key role in maintaining and strengthening a democratic society.
The Coalition for Media Freedom believes that this re-targeting of Gruhonjic is dangerous because what was said comes from a public official, and that it is a model of behavior towards journalists that has proven to be a very effective means of pressuring and sending messages to others to launch threats and attacks.
This kind of atmosphere and negative attitude towards journalists and the media is aimed primarily at leaving an impression on citizens, who then, most often on social networks, insult and harass journalists, send threats and further incite hatred.
Dodik, as well as other politicians who have distinguished themselves with hate speech in recent days, must understand the importance of freedom of speech, because otherwise we are going in a direction that sends the message of what awaits you if you say what you think, and leads to the collapse of basic values in society. Media freedom is actually a measure of society’s freedom.
The Coalition for Media Freedom consists of the Association of Media, the Association of Online Media (AOM), the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV), the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), the Business Association of Local and Independent Media “Local Press” and the Slavko Curuvija Foundation.