BELGRADE, 09.09.2017. – The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 7800 members, strongly condemns death threats directed to Maglocistac web portal staff. The Network calls upon the state authorities of the Republic of Serbia to take appropriate steps to identify the authors of these dangerous threats and sanction them accordingly.
Comments posted below the article on Subotica based Maglocistac web portal contain explicit threats to the newsroom members – that they will be “slaughtered like rabbits” and that their “tonsils will be crushed by boots.” The cause for the threats was the article “We are all Gosa workers, and all the rulers are Labans” published on 4th September that reports about death threats by Bogdan Laban, the Mayor of Subotica directed at one of his party colleagues.
“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. Unfortunately, the new protection mechanism established at the end of 2016 by the police, prosecutor’s office and journalists and media organizations still hasn’t produced any results”, said Svetozar Rakovic, Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia Secretary General and added: „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”.
The Regional Platform supports IJAS and calls Serbian institutions to implement international standards for the protection of journalists, their security and freedom of expression which are incorporated in national legislation. This will provide free and safe working conditions for journalists and media.
From the beginning of the year IJAS has recorded 22 cases of attacks and threats on journalists in Serbia, including the last incident.
The Regional Platform strongly supports journalists’ and media organizations efforts in protection of journalists and freedom of speech. It considers any attack on journalists an attack on the public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia