SJ: Journalists in Serbia and Kosovo under attacks

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    PHOTO: pixabay.com

    The SafeJournalists Network strongly condemns the attacks on journalists of RTV Dukagjini (journalist Liridon Llozani and cameraman Diamant Maxharraj), N1 correspondent from Nis Milan Stojanovic, as well as threats against editor in magazine Karakter, Nikola Krstic, which further increase journalists’ insecurity in their daily work in Serbia and Kosovo.

    The RTV Dukagjini crew, consisting of journalist Liridon Llozani and cameraman Diamant Maxharraj, was physically attacked while reporting in the Peyton neighborhood of Pristina for the declaration of revenues at the Tax Administration of Kosovo on Monday (February 21st). The owner of one of the bars where the crew was filming, first tried to prevent them from performing their duties, and then physically attacked the cameraman Maxharraj. The TV crew immediately called the police, who arrested the perpetrator. Both journalists and a cameraman gave their statement at the police station about the incident.

    Also, on February 21, the N1 correspondent from Nis, Milan Stojanović, was threatened by the workers of the PE “Naisus” while filming the unearthing of a street from which water sprung over the weekend. The workers started threatening him, shouting not to record. Although Milan Stojanović told them that he is a journalist and that he is just doing his work, the workers approached him in group, entered his face, attacked him, trying to drive him away from his task. The journalist then called the police, who solved the problem by securing the N1 TV crew for about half an hour until they finished its work, in order to prevent an additional attack.

    The editor of the newspaper “Karakter”, Nikola Krstić, received several serious threats from the same person from an open account on the social network Twitter yesterday. Brutal threats and insults were sent to the journalist, in which the perpetrator stated several ways how he would deal with the journalist Krstić and his like-minded people, especially emphasizing that his place is in the “plastic black bag”. The threats cite gruesome ways to injure a journalist. At the same time, the journalist is invited to answer on those threats, and this is done through several comments in a thread related to the writing of Nikola Krstić and the discussion on the genocide in Srebrenica.

    Dragan Sekulovski , director of SJ Network said: “Physical violence towards media workers is unacceptable and must be firstly publicly condemned by local authorities and then immediately punished by the competent judicial institutions.” He added: “Only fast response by the local police and then by the public prosecutor for cases in which the rights of journalists are harmed, will safeguard the freedom of expression and will prevent future attacks on media workers.”

    The SafeJournalists Network condemns the latest attacks on journalists and welcomes the arrest of the attackers on RTV Dukagjini crew. Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia has filed a criminal complaint to the competent Prosecutor’s Office for High-Tech Crime in connection with the threats received by colleague Krstić. We hereby call on the high officials to condemn all attacks and threats against journalists that happen in just one day, and the competent institutions to take all measures at their disposal to ensure the safety of journalists.

    SafeJournalists Network will inform all relevant national and international stakeholders about those cases.

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

    Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, February 22, 2022

    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