EFJ and IFJ concerned by disappearance of Serbian journalist Stefan Cvetković

UPDATE 15.06.2018 Stefan Cvetković, the Serbian journalists reported missing on the night between 13-14 of June, has been found unhurt by the local authorities in the northern town of Bela Crkva and has been taken to the local police station, the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic told in a news conference. The further information on the situation is yet to be released. ———————- European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) expressed a deep concern regarding the disappearance of a Serbian journalist Stefan Cvetković on the night between 13th and 14th of June 2018, as reported by the local authorities. Stefan Cvetković has been…

Meeting with Serbian journalists

The EFJ GS Ricardo Gutiérrez will meet with a group of 5 media founded by civil society organisations from Serbia: European Western Balkans, Juzne Vesti (News from South), TV Forum Prijepolje, Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia, Independent Journalist’ Association of Serbia. They are partners of Belgrade Open School, CSO from Belgrade, Serbia, within the project “Civil Society as a Force of Change in Serbia’s EU Accession – CS4EU”, funded by the Kingdom of Sweden. Group consists of local and national journalists, who follow different aspects of Serbian EU integration/accession process.  

Freedom of expression deteriorates in EU candidate countries, shows EU progress reports

The European Commission published on 17 April 2018 its annual Enlargement Package, including the country reports (formerly known as “progress reports”), assessing the implementation of the European Union’s enlargement policy regarding the accession process of the Western Balkans and Turkey. These country reports shows alarmingly precarious working conditions of journalists as the level of press freedom deteriorates further. In four countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) no progress has been achieved in the area of press freedom. Issues of attacks on journalists, defamation cases media ownership, lack of funding of the public service broadcasters and self-censorship prevail. Some of…

Serbian journalists attacked by police in Kosovo

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Serbian affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Serbia (SINOS), the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in condemning the attacks on Serbian cameraman Vladimir Milic as well as journalists Dragana Zecevic and Radmila Komazec on 26 March 2018 in Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo. They were covering a meeting of the local community about the Kosovo dialogue in the Mitrovica Community Centre. The level of violence was very high as shown in this reportage. Milic, who works for the public television Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), was reportedly attacked by Kosovar policemen who…

Western Balkans: media freedoms and safety of journalists still at risk

A delegation of the Western Balkans’ Regional Platform project for advocating media freedom and journalists’ safety visited Brussels on March 21st and 22nd and held meetings and consultations with the members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission from the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement negotiations (DG NEAR). Representatives of journalists’ associations and a trade union from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia presented the journalists’ safety and the media situation in their countries. They emphasised joint problems their members and other journalists face, including poor working conditions, fear for personal safety due to work,…

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights concerned about safety of journalists in Serbia

“Serbia has to establish an adequate environment for media work” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, following a four-day follow-up visit to the country carried out from 19 to 22 February 2018. As concerns freedom of the media, the Commissioner noted the agreement of all media actors that he met that Serbia has a solid legislative framework governing this field. ”Serbia also has great investigative journalists, some of whom have been presented with prestigious international awards. The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, whose importance for investigative journalists’ work cannot be overstated, is a…

Journalist Philippe Bertinchamps threatened with expulsion in Serbia

On February 2018, Philippe Bertinchamps, a Belgrade-based Belgian journalist working for various French-speaking media outlets is threatened with expulsion after the Serbian interior minister (MUP) rejected his second request for a temporary residence permit. If deported, the journalist will be separated from his family living in Serbia. The authorities is vaguely accusing him of being an “obstacle to public order and national security”. M.Bertinchamp’s application for a temporary residence permit on preservation of family unity grounds was rejected by the MUP in April 2017 and again on 8 January 2018 with no explanation. A Serbian administrative court ruled in his…

Serbia: EFJ denounced the intimidation campaign against its affiliate NUNS

On 7 February 2018, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounced on the platform of the Council of Europe for the safety of journalists and protection of journalism the following case: On two separate occasions (04/02/2018 and 05/02/2018), the Belgrade office of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (NUNS or IJAS) has been the target of insults and intimidation with a printed flyer describing IJAS as an “Unhappy Association of Enemies of Serbia”. The flyers were glued into the glass entrance of the House of Journalists where the head office of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia is located. It…

Programme Director of Serbian Radio TV Vojvodina dismissed for the second time

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in Serbia, the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS), the Independent Journalists’ Association (NUNS) and the Journalists’ Union of Serbia (SINOS) in expressing concerns about the new dismissal on 29 January 2018 of Slobodan Arežina, programme director of regional public broadcaster Radio Television Vojvodina (RTV). Arežina was first dismissed in May 2016, due to an alleged decline in ratings, and the lack of a Program Production and Broadcasting Plan for 2016. The Court of Appeal stated that Arežina was unlawfully dismissed and ruled for his readmission. He was reinstated in December 2017 but not allowed…

Joint mission to Serbia: our recommendations

Following concerns about the state of media freedom in Serbia expressed by both Serbian journalists and media organisations as well as international organisations and institutions, an international joint fact-finding mission comprised of representatives from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) visited Serbia from 18th-19th January 2018. “It was encouraging to follow the big interest in Serbia on our fact finding mission. Without any doubt our mission shows that there are a huge need of creating an environment where all journalist by decent working conditions can do their…

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