Coalition for Media Freedom: We condemn the pressure on freedom of speech and the attempt to silence criticism

The former head of the Belgrade center of the State Security Department, Milan Radonjic, one of the four accused in the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija who were acquitted by the decision of the Court of Appeal in February, sued the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation for a statement in which the Foundation expressed disagreement with that verdict. In the meantime, unofficial information appeared that lawsuits will be filed against the media as well. The Coalition for Media Freedom condemn this pressure on freedom of speech and the attempt to silence any criticism of a ruling regime.

 

After the announcement of the decision of the Court of Appeal, on February 2, 2024, many Serbian and international organizations reacted.

 

At the time, the Slavko Curuvija Foundation issued a statement stating that “those who killed the journalist were released. The journalist was followed by the secret service before the crime itself, his murder was announced on state television, he dealt with the highest state officials, monstrous lies were spread in the state media about him, his property the state destroyed, and his associates were persecuted”.

 

Although the names of the accused were not mentioned anywhere in the statement, Milan Radonjić decided to request through the Court that the Foundation pay him 500,000 dinars for damaging his reputation and honor.

 

Slavko Ćuruvija was killed 25 years ago, no one was found guilty for that crime, and now, some are trying to silence voices reminding that not a single case of journalist’s murder in Serbia has been solved.

 

At the trial for the murder of Slavko Ćuruvija, many intentional and unintentional omissions were made, which showed that this government is unable or unwilling to deal with the criminalized parts of the secret service, which are responsible for numerous crimes.

 

We will not allow these pressures to discourage us and we will continue to fight against impunity for crimes against journalists.

 

The Coalition for Media Freedom: the Association of Media, the Association of Online Media (AOM), the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV), the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), the Business Association of Local and Independent Media “Local Press”, the Slavko Curuvija Foundation and Branch Trade Union of Culture, Arts and Media ‘Nezavisnost’ 

 

Belgrade, June 12, 2024

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