Vucic has no moral right to speak in Davos about media freedom

Source/Author: NUNS

BELGRADE, 22.o1.2019. – The news that Serbian President Vucic will speak at the panel “Media Freedom in Crisis” at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos sounds unreal, but also cynical and utterly hypocritical, announced the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina.

The president of Serbia will spend the next three days in Davos, and as the media reported, it is announced that he will be a guest speaker at the panel “Media Freedom in Crisis”.

That the safety of journalists and media freedom in Serbia is in a constant, growing crisis is undisputed. IJAS and IJAV think that the President Aleksandar Vucic bears the most responsibility for such situation and, therefore, has no moral right to share advice or recommendations regarding media freedoms on an international conference. This is known to journalists and media organizations, and the whole media community in Serbia, but also to international organizations and institutions.

The most recent confirmation of such position was given by the representatives of the international organization Reporter Without Borders. After a meeting with the President of Serbia that took place on 21.01.2019, Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RFS Balkans and EU desk, stated that RSF initiated a meeting due to a deteriorating atmosphere and the safety of journalists after the attack on journalist Milan Jovanovic was emphasised. Adès-Mével added: “We are not convinced that he is fully taking this case into consideration.”

On January 29 IJAS will present its annual report on pressures and attacks against journalists in 2018. The report points out a trend of the uncertainty regarding the position of media professionals and the decline in media freedom in Serbia. To what extent is the current ruling party accountable for such situation is reflected in the fact that in the last three years IJAS recorded 81 cases of pressure, attack, insult and discrimination of journalists by public officials.

In 2018 IJAS recorded 30 incidents against journalists.

Belgrade, 22.01.2019.

Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia

Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina