The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed its concern over the recent attacks on journalists in Serbia, with OSCE representative for media freedom Teresa Ribeiro and head of the mission Jan Braathu calling on Serbian authorities to thoroughly investigate all incidents and bring those responsible to justice.
“I am concerned about violence against journalists and threats to journalists in Serbia,” Ribeiro said in a statement.
She added that the “acts that endanger the personal safety and integrity of journalists represent a serious obstacle to the freedom of the media and hinder the free flow of information and the right of citizens to access information of public interest.”
“I call on the authorities to do everything in their power to thoroughly investigate all incidents, to quickly bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of journalists,” said Ribeiro.
Braathu stressed that the safety of journalists is a basic principle among OSCE member states.
He said that every case of attack on journalists should be effectively investigated and that the government should publicly condemn such attacks.
The OSCE Mission will continue to cooperate with the Permanent Working Group for the Safety of Journalists, government institutions and media organizations in accordance with OSCE obligations, Braathu added.
The OSCE officials called on the authorities to continue to implement the Decisions of the OSCE Council of Ministers on the safety of journalists from 2018, as well as to ensure full compliance with OSCE obligations and international standards on freedom of expression to enable the safety and freedom of journalists in practice.
According to reports, three journalists were recently exposed to violence and intimidation, while one journalist felt forced to leave the country.
Fonet Agency journalist Marko Dragoslavic was attacked by an unknown person on March 7 shortly after reporting on the Students for Kosovo rally in Belgrade.
On the same day, journalist and editor of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) Stevan Dojcinovic received online threats calling for his murder.
TV N1 journalist in Kragujevac, Milan Nikic, reported to the authorities on March 3 that an unknown person spied on his apartment, and he previously reported that an unknown person in civilian clothes disturbed him while he was filming the protest of fired workers of the Kragujevac Waterworks.
The OSCE statement also noted that the journalist and writer Marko Vidojkovic and his wife were recently moved to an unknown location outside Serbia due to threats, with the support of PEN International.