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…

Serbia: Fact-finding mission on media freedom and journalists’ rights

This morning, 18 January 2018, the joint Fact-Finding Mission to Serbia on media freedom and journalists’ rights commences by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in cooperation with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and the International Press Institute (IPI) as well as the EFJ affiliates in Serbia: the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS), the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), and the Journalists’ Union of Serbia (SINOS). The two-day mission will meet with government representatives including the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, the Ministry of Culture’s State Secretary, the Assistant Minister for Information and Media and the state…

Incentivising media rights and plurality by supporting good practices in Western Balkans and Turkey

“How to improve the precarious state of journalism in South East Europe and Turkey” was the topic of a press conference held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14th November 2017 at the Press Club Brussels. The press conference took place in the framework of the EFJ project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – a project supported financially by UNESCO and the European Union. Andris Kesteris, principal advisor at DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) at the European Commission and Tarja Turtia, UNESCO Programme Specialist, attended the event to hear representatives of…

Serbia: Attacks against journalists must stop

Following the recent media stage black out in Serbia to warn against Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic‘s muzzling of the press, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)’s Steering Committee meeting yesterday (9 October 2017) in Brussels discussed how to best support its affiliates to resist such mounting pressure and coordinate successful advocacy at European and international level. “We ask the European Commission and in particular EU Commissioner Hahn, responsible for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, to be firm and coherent when it comes to enforcement of European standards of freedom of expression and media freedom in Serbia” said Mogens Blicher…

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