The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 8,000 members, strongly condemns the physical attack on Zoran Jovanovic, photographer of Vecernje novosti daily and welcomes the prompt reaction by the police.
On Friday, May 24, while Jovanovic was on duty photographing the area where the parking zone will be located in Carlija Caplina St. in Belgrade when an unknown man approached to him and told him he can’t take any photos.
After Jovanovic explained that he is doing his job and needs the photo as an illustration for the article regarding the new parking zone, adding that the street is a public space where taking photos is allowed, the man began to yell. He kicked Jovanovic and his camera, and finally spat him. He then threatened to set the driver Svetozar Miranovic and their vehicle on fire.
The case was immediately reported to the police, and it reacted quickly – they reached the place of attack and arrested the abuser.
“Tensions in our society grow from year to year and journalists and media professionals feel it very painfully. This time, our colleague Jovanovic was attacked while he was doing his job. It’s great that the police responded quickly and we hope for a fast judicial epilogue. Unfortunately, this makes the third physical attack IJAS registered in our database since the beginning of the year” said Zeljko Bodrozic, president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia. Since the beginning of 2019, IJAS has recorded 56 pressures, physical and verbal attacks on media professionals.
The Regional Platform supports IJAS in its efforts to protect journalists and freedom of speech and call on relevant authorities to conduct the proceeding to the end and adequately sanction the perpetrator.
We remind that every attack on a journalist is an attack on the public interest, democracy and human rights.
The Platform will inform all European institutions of this incident and request their intervention in the area of media freedom and safety of journalists in the Western Balkans region.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, 28.05.2019
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia