BRUSSELS, 18.09.2017. – On 4 September 2017, journalists and media workers working for the Serbian Subotica Magločistač news portal received explicit death threats because of an article entitled “We are all Gosa workers, and all the rulers are Labans” (Svi smo mi radnici Goše, a vladari Labani).
Following the publication of this article, the team of journalists were threatened with harsh words in the comments section. The article referred to the death threats made by Bogdan Laban, the mayor of Subotica, directed against one of his party colleagues, Magločistač news portal reported about that event.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemns the death threats against media professionals and is supporting the Western Balkans Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in expressing the deepest concerns and calling on the Serbian authorities to take appropriate steps to identify the authors of these dangerous threats and sanction them.
“The protection of journalists in Serbia is ineffective and the number of threats, especially through social networks, increases annually. More and more individuals act alone or are being instructed to send horrible threats to journalists only because they are doing their job. By not publicly condemning attacks on journalists and media, public officials silently support policy of impunity and as such have not right to speak about freedom, democracy the European path of Serbia,” said Svetozar Rakovic, Secretary General of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS).
The EFJ will submit the case to the Council of Europe’s platform for the protection of journalism and to the Mapping Media Freedom project.