BELGRADE, 08.02.2019. – Two Serbian journalists’ organization have warned of a smear campaign waged by regime supporters against professional journalists.
The Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS) and Independent Society of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV) said that so-called “bot web sites are spreading across Serbia and sullying the name of professional journalists for the current authorities”.
Bot is a term used in Serbia to designate people spreading misinformation and conducting smear campaigns for the authorities on social media.
A statement said that the latest example of the smear campaign was the ruthless attack on Igor Besermenji, a columnist for the Autonomija portal, and NDNV president and programme editor, Nedim Sejdinovic and Dinko Gruhonjic.
“The bot web site istraga.rs claimed that Besermenji is one of the leaders of the protest in Novi Sad and a Vojvodina separatist with similar claims made about the NDNV, Sejdinovic and Gruhonjic. Some 20 days earlier the site targetted professional journalists Jovan Gligorijevic, Dragana Peco and Hana Adrovic,” the statement said.
It said that the istraga.rs site does not list its staff “and we don’t know who is actually behind that so-called media”.
“At the same time, the stories on the portal are shared on social networks mainly by bots which is more proof that it is a bot tool whose sole purpose is to label and pull through the tabloid mud everyone who thinks with their head and does not agree to censorship,” the statement said.
N1 Belgrade, Belgrade, 08/02/2019