SafeJournalists network strongly condemns the threats to Vijesti television journalist Nikola Milosavic Aleksic in Montenegro, as well as to journalists Ardiana Thaci Mehmeti and Erjona Gjikolli in Kosovo.
The threats to the journalist Nikola Milosavic Aleksic came after he called the owner of the company “Trudbenik” Vuksan Radonjic and asked him for a comment on a topic concerning the company he owns. Radonjić told a series of insults and threats to the journalist. Among other things, Radonjic threatened to “cut off the head” of the journalist and “not to publish anything related to him and his restaurant”.
The police in Podgorica reacted quickly and detained and then arrested Vuksan Radonjic, who is suspected of threats. Radonjic was arrested by order of the state prosecutor in the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica.
Another case of death threats happened in Kosovo, to journalists Ardiana Thaci Mehmeti and Erjona Gjikolli, authors of the investigative show KIKS Kosova.
Thaci Mehmeti and Gjikolli received death threats against them and their family members, after the investigation of the singer Errol Murati, who, as the investigation showed, was involved in fraud with Slovenian passports, as well as car resale. In an email sent to the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), the journalists state that they and their families have been threatened with death from a newly opened profile on Facebook. As the journalists say, the messages read, “You have children; you are all surrounded by children, I will set them on fire…”. The case was reported to the Kosovo Police.
“We are deeply disturbed and disapprove of the threats made against our colleagues Nikola Milosavic Aleksic in Montenegro, and Ardiana Thaci Mehmeti and Erjona Gjikolli in Kosovo. These threats are direct attacks not only on these journalists but also on the very essence of press freedom and democracy in both countries. We urge the authorities to act swiftly and decisively in penalizing the perpetrators following the national laws. Our commitment is firm: we will always stand for the safety of journalists and the fundamental right to free speech. An attack on any journalist is an attack on everyone’s right to be informed. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues and oppose any form of threat or violence against journalists”, stated Dragan Sekulovski, the director of the SafeJournalists Network.
The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, joins its members TUMM and AJK in strongly condemning the threats directed at journalists. The Network supports the quick reaction of the police and the prosecutor’s office in Montenegro and appeals to the authorities to carry out the proceedings to the end and punish the perpetrators as soon as possible. The Network also requests the competent institutions in Kosovo to give priority to the case of threats to female journalists and take the necessary steps so that the person hiding behind the fake profile and threats is found and adequately punished. The SafeJournalists Network emphasizes that institutions must demonstrate that they will not remain silent in the face of any attacks and threats against media employees.
The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.
Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 1.12.2023
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro