SafeJournalists: Online Attacks on a Journalist because of an Article about the Patriarch

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    photo: canva

    The Safejournalist network demands from the police and the Prosecutor’s Office to find all the persons who sent threats to the journalist Nikola Krstic because of the article in Danas.

    Nikola Krstic wrote an article in Danas in which, in his personal opinion, he criticized the inappropriate statement of Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Orthodox Church about women. The article was followed by a bunch of threats on social networks stating that Krstic should be “hanged on a pole” and that such people “should be exterminated”.

    IJAS sees a particular problem in the apparently orchestrated campaign by right-wing groups, in which Serbian tabloids also played a major role, after which threats to Krstic on social networks increased. Immediately after the publication of the article, the tabloids twisted the facts from Krstic’s article, all in an almost identical way and pointed out that he hates the Serbian Orthodox Church and asked the question how is it possible for him to eat Serbian bread? At the same time, they falsely stated that Krstic was a member of the “Djilas party” (Dragan Djilas, leader of the political party “Party of Freedom and Justice”) and that he was calling on citizens to block the Gazela bridge…

    From the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, they say that such threats are not surprising, considering the climate that has been created towards journalists in Serbia for a long time, and they remind us of a large number of attacks and pressures on journalists. Zeljko Bodrozic, president of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia, explains that the threats and insults to our colleague clearly indicate the dangerous environment in which journalists work in Serbia, but also the problems journalists face when writing critically. He indicates that in this difficult moment for our society, the state authorities should do everything to calm down the tensions in society, and not to inflame them further.

    What is particularly worrying is that the threats followed the article about the Serbian Orthodox Church and the criticism of the Patriarch’s speech in which women are called deplorable people, which only shows that as a society we are not ready for criticism. We should not forget that a few days ago, a daily newspaper terminated its cooperation with the writer Biljana Srbljanovic because of an article about the Patriarch.

    The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, joins the condemnation of the threats and the campaign launched against the journalist Krstic and calls on the competent authorities to immediately find and punish the perpetrators. Also, we invite all participants in the public space to refrain from targeting journalists and all others who write critically about topics of public interest. We call on the authorities to condemn such threats and campaigns and thus send a clear message that such behavior is unacceptable.

    The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.

    Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.

     

    Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 18 May 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