Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) condemns the chase on N1 television, which has been intensified by the authorities in recent weeks, and culminated last night in the intrusion of about thirty people with sound systems and banners into the yard of the office building where the newsroom of this television is located. Also, we express serious concern about the absence of an official reaction from state authorities.
Those gathered in front of N1 introduced themselves as the “People’s Headquarters” and held speeches for several hours and disrupted the work of employees. They stated that N1 would face the wrath of the people, and asked it to tell the truth, and invited the journalists to go outside.
The editor in chief of television N1 immediately reported to the police the unauthorized entry to private property and disruption of work, but the police did not react, and as stated by N1, there were several plainclothes policemen in front of their building, who said that they had no order to identify the gathered people, nor to remove them from private property.
We are concerned about the absence of an adequate reaction by the police and the prosecutor’s office in this particular case, because we are sure that in addition to the presence of plainclothes policemen, there was space for a more serious reaction and protection of journalists from interference in their work. Television N1 is under a huge attack, both from representatives of the authorities and extreme right-wing groups, which can be related to the relativization of the huge dissatisfaction of citizens with the work of the public media service and television with national coverage and diminishing the importance of mass gatherings “Serbia against violence”. Television N1 and its journalists are declared to be the cause of tragic events, newsrooms and journalists are regularly threatened, and events such as this gathering, if allowed, only increase the tension and level of threats to journalists.
IJAS demands from the police and the prosecutor’s office to raise the level of protection of journalists and newsrooms, and to recognize potentially dangerous situations like yesterday’s, because adequate security solutions must be urgently found for such threats. We also expect the authorities to carry out an appropriate assessment of the safety of journalists N1, because they have been targeted and unjustly accused for years, especially by representatives of the authorities. In recent days, the attacks and pressures have intensified, as evidenced by the performances of the MPs of the ruling coalition in the Serbian Parliament, who practically initiated a survey on social networks in which users ask whether the N1 should be set on fire, demolished or banned.
IJAS provides full support to N1 television in its professional and responsible work in the interest of the public, and makes every effort to ensure the employees of that media house and all other media workers safe work in the newsroom and outside it.
IJAS, May 31, 2023