N1 television journalist Vanja Đurić and cameraman Ivan Žugić were verbally attacked yesterday in Belgrade while they were trying to record the interlocutor’s statement for their report. The Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia condemns this incident and believes that it is a consequence of the labeling of journalists by public officials, and calls on them to renounce such practices that endanger the safety of journalists.
While crew were preparing to record an arranged interview with an interlocutor in a park near a bank, a security man from a bank approached them and told them that they had “broken into” the bank. After that he insulted them in many ways.
“Fellow cameraman Ivan Žugić and I went to a small park where we had an arranged meeting with one interlocutor. We were in a public area, in a park and we didn’t bother anyone. However, since that park is near a bank, while we were preparing for the filming, I noticed a man from the security of that bank approaching us and started throwing something. Then we kindly asked him to walk away and not to disturb us. We explained to him that we were not filming the bank nor would we be doing it without a recording license. The camera was turned to the other side, so that the bank could not be seen in the background. We thought that was the problem. However, when we tried to continue filming, he stayed there and continued to tease and insult us. Then we realized that he has a problem with the fact that we work for N1 and he just doesn’t like the fact that we are here now. He started insulting and cursing us, so we stopped filming and nicely asked him to go and try to calm down. He stayed there for a while and returned to the bank”, N1 journalist Vanja Đurić described the unpleasant situation.
She also wrote about this verbal attack on Twitter.
Znate ona napadanja i označavanja novinara @N1infoBG ovakvima i onakvima, e pa toliko su se primila i toliko se narod opustio da nam je, dok smo snimali nešto na ulici, prišao čovek iz obezbeđenja @KomBankBL i krenuo da psuje sve po redu i sagovorniku i snimatelju i meni.
— Vanja Đurić (@Vanjuus) April 14, 2022
Of particular concern is the fact that some people in the comments approved and encouraged this behavior towards journalists, justifying it with “freedom of opinion and freedom of speech”.
The Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia condemns verbal attacks on journalists, which can easily turn into physical attacks, and believes that they are a consequence, primarily of labeling journalists as traitor and foreign agents by public officials. IJAS calls on them to stop such practices in order to reduce tensions in society, because their job is to answer journalists’ questions and enable them to do their work without hindrance.