Meeting of the Advisory Board of “The illiberal Turn” Project

Dr Vaclav Stetka (PI) and Professor Sabina Mihelj (Co-I) have been awarded an ESRC standard research grant for a project titled “The Illiberal Turn? News Consumption, Political Polarisation and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe” (£817,000). The project will carry out a comparative analysis of the relationship between news consumption and political attitudes in four CEE countries – Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Serbia, at a key point in time when the region is witnessing the rise of populist leaders, resurgence of illiberal nationalism, and a shift towards authoritarian forms of government. Scheduled to run from May 2019 until November 2021,…

UNS Conference: Ending Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

Twenty years ago, in the early morning of April 23, 1999, during the Kosovo war, NATO bombed the headquarters of the Serbian public broadcaster – Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) – in downtown Belgrade, killing 16 of its employees. To commemorate the bombing, declared a war crime by Amnesty International, Radio Television Serbia (RTS) and the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) are organizing an international conference in Belgrade on April 22-23. The conference will be an opportunity for journalists, media professionals and human rights activists to discuss growing threats against the media over the past two decades, as well as…

Serbia : Public TV building stormed by anti-government protesters

A group of around 100 anti-government protesters stormed the building of the Serbian national broadcaster RTS in Belgrade on Saturday 16 March, demanding to be allowed to make a public address live on air. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) join their Serbian affiliates, Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), in condemning this incident and demanding all parties to respect RTS’s editorial independence. Protesters, who wanted to voice their opposition to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, had to be evacuated from the RTS building after about 50 riot police were…

Serbia: journalist Milan Jovanović attacked with Molotov cocktail

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed its solidarity with the colleague Milan Jovanović and the newsroom of Zig Info and urge the Serbian authorities to fully investigative the attacks and threats against the investigative journalist under attack. The EFJ joined it’s affiliates (UNS, NUNS and SINOS) in condemning the attack and in demanding an urgent investigation. The EFJ has reported the following facts to the Council of Europe’s platform for the protection and safety of journalists : On December 12, 2018, the house of Milan Jovanović, an investigative journalist for the independent news website Žig Info, was set ablaze at 3:30…

Council of Europe: #EndImpunity for crimes against journalists

Today, marking the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’, the Safety of Journalists Platform launches a special page, which presents 16 cases of unsolved murders of journalists in the Council of Europe member states, as submitted by the partner organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. These cases are listed on the platform as impunity for murders, highlighting deficiencies in investigations and failure to bring to justice all the perpetrators, the organisers or the masterminds of these crimes. The 16 cases are: Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev (2013, Russian Federation); Mikhail Beketov (2013, Russian Federation); Hrant Dink (2007,…

Serbian journalist Dino Jahić faced insults and death threats

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expresses deepest concerns regarding the insults and death threats targeting Dino Jahić, the editor-in-chief of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS). The EFJ joined the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ safety in calling on the Serbian and Bosnian authorities to stop discrediting journalists and respect media pluralism as well as freedom of speech. The smear campaign against Dino Jahić started on 21 August 2018, when Milorad Dodik, president of  the Serb-dominated entity in Bosnia (Republika Srpska), accused during a press conference Dino Jahić of drawing on huge…

Serbia: Administrative harassment against Juzne Vesti news portal

Series of administrative intimidation acts have been taken by the local authorities against Serbian news portal Juzne Vesti, with an increasing pressure in the last six months. The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) reported that the long lasting intimidation against the news portal works as a model for putting pressure on media critical to the government in Serbia. The last investigation of Juzne Vesti resulted in a legal notice against the news portal obliging it to pay a million dinars (more or less 8,400 EUR), even though no irregularities in tax activities were found. During the last five years, Juzne Vesti were subjected to…

Serbia: Commission to solve wartime journalists’ murders expanded

Over 40 journalists have disappeared or been killed in the territory of Serbia since the break of former Yugoslavia in 1992, but only few investigations were concluded, even with interference and support from international organisations. The Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists in Serbia has been working in solving the cases since 2012. The decision to expand its capabilities and resources to further the fight against impunity for murders of journalists was announced by the president of the Commission Veran Matic, on 2 August. The scope now is set to include murders of journalists on the territories of Kosovo and…

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…

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