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…

Serbian weekly ‘Vranjske novine’ closed following administrative harassment

Serbian weekly Vranjske novine will cease publishing, announced founder and editor-in-chief Vukasin Obradovic on 18 September. The paper claims it has been subject to intense political and economic pressures, including financial inspections allegedly aimed at compromising its finances. As a sign of protest, Obradovic had gone on hunger strike for a couple of days. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) stand in solidarity with Vukasin Obradovic and join their affiliates in Serbia in denouncing the oppression many media and journalists are currently experiencing in the country. According to the Independent Journalists’ Association (NUNS), Vranjske novine has been subjected to political and economic…

Serbia: Journalists from Magločistač web portal receive death threats

On 4 September 2017, journalists and media workers working for the Serbian Subotica Magločistač news portal received explicit death threats because of an article entitled “We are all Gosa workers, and all the rulers are Labans” (Svi smo mi radnici Goše, a vladari Labani). Following the publication of this article, the team of journalists were threatened with harsh words in the comments section. The article referred to the death threats made by Bogdan Laban, the mayor of Subotica, directed against one of his party colleagues, Magločistač news portal reported about that event. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemns the death threats…

Newsweek Serbia ceases publishing

Adria Media Group (AMG), a major Serbian publishing house, announced on 1 August that it would cease publishing the Serbian edition of the popular US-owned Newsweek magazine. AMG’s National Bank of Serbia accounts were frozen by the Serbian government in early July, the group reported. AMG quoted the Tax Administration Office saying in a statement on 6 July that the blocking of AMG’s bank accounts was made “to secure the collection of public revenue for which the control process is in progress, as there is a risk that the taxpayer will hurt, disable or make it ineffective”.  Requests for further…

Serbia: Journalists verbally and physically attacked during President’s inauguration

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in condemning the verbal and physical attacks against journalists from Insajder Production, Vice, Radio Belgrade and daily newspaper Danas during the inauguration of Serbian President Vucic on May 31 in Belgrade. The attacks occurred while Vucic’s supporters and opposition activists started clashing in front of the Serbian parliament. According to media reports, Danas journalist Lidija Valtner was taking a statement of a protester when she was dragged away by two persons holding her by the neck and trying to take her mobile phone away.…

Serbian journalist sentenced to jail for unauthorised publication

Freelance journalist Stefan Cvetkovic was found guilty by the court in in the city of Vrsac for unauthorised publication and presentation of another’s texts, portraits and recordings on March 14. He received two years and three months in jail and must pay €17,000 fine for insult. According to the legal advisor of Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), Cvetkovic had filed complaints against the judgment and is waiting for the second instance court ruling. He has not been detained till the appeal. Cvetkovic was prosecuted after the complain by three officials from the ruling party. The well-known journalist was investigating…