European Federation of Journalists

Serbia: Independent journalism faces biggest crisis in years

Following a visit to Belgrade on April 10 and 11 2023 to commemorate the murder anniversary of editor and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the undersigned international press freedom and journalists’ organisations in issuing a stark warning over the state of media freedom and journalists’ safety in Serbia. Ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, our shared conclusion is that 24 years after the murder of Ćuruvija in 1999, poor conditions for the safety of journalists, the weak landscape for the rule of law, media capture and a festering climate of hostility towards critical reporting mean that the…

Serbia: EFJ, IFJ and press freedom groups mark Slavko Ćuruvija murder anniversary

To mark the 24th anniversary of the murder of Serbian editor and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and international press freedom organisations are today visiting Belgrade to renew our calls for justice and issue fresh warnings about the current climate for the safety of journalists. The mission to Belgrade comes 24 years after Ćuruvija was shot dead in cold blood outside his apartment on 11 April 1999, and a matter of weeks after the final hearings began in the retrial of four state security officials accused of planning and executing…

Slavko Ćuruvija: Cycle of impunity for killing of journalists in Serbia must be broken

Following the start of the retrial last week at the Court of Appeal for the 1999 murder of Serbian editor and publisher Slavko Ćuruvija, the undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the SafeJournalists Network (SJN) today renew our call for justice for his killing to finally be secured. The pending ruling – which will either confirm or dismiss the previous guilty verdicts handed down to four state security agents for carrying out and planning his assassination – will be the most consequential for media freedom and journalism in Serbia’s modern history. Coming nearly 24 years after…

Serbia: IJAS launches new platform for the safety of journalists “On The Line”

The European Federation of Journalists welcomes the initiative of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) to launch a new platform for the online safety of journalists, “On The Line“. The platform is based on a protocol written by the International Press Institute (IPI) and gathers resources and tools designed to help newsrooms and journalists deal with online threats. It was created following the increasing number of online hate speech in the country. Two sections refer specifically to online menaces and attacks on female journalists and on freelance journalists. The protocol is based on the importance of peer support and cooperation, the…

Multiple journalists threatened and harassed in Serbia, authorities must take urgent action

In the past month in Serbia, several journalists have been targeted by serious threats raising fears for their physical safety. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Media Freedom Rapid Response partners and the Safe Journalists Network in condemning in the strongest terms the intimidation and often orchestrated campaigns by pro-government media outlets and members of the public to silence journalists. The undersigned organisations urge the authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure their protection and prevent further threats. The latest shocking threat reported on 1 December 2022 targeted Nova S TV’s journalist Jelena Obucina. Obucina received messages…

Serbia: Investigative outlet “KRIK” victim of a SLAPP lawsuit

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is concerned about the verdict of a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) case against investigative Serbian Crime and Corruption Reporting Network outlet “KRIK”. The media outlet is fined for publishing news about the trial of a crime gang in Serbia. KRIK quoted court material from a public trial against a local crime gang called “Jotka’s group” in April 2021. The media outlet quoted the defendants who claimed the group has ties with the Interior Minister Bratislav Gašić, who is also high-ranking member of the Serbian Progressive Party and former Head of Serbia’s Security Information Agency (BIA). A wiretapped conversation…

Serbia: Support for OK Radio as it faces intimidation by powerful businessperson

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partners organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in expressing support and solidarity with embattled broadcaster OK Radio and urging Serbian law enforcement authorities to put an end to the dangerous campaign of harassment and pressure exerted on the media outlet by a powerful local businessperson. Over the last few months, OK Radio, a leading independent radio station which covers local news in the southern city of Vranje, has faced an increasingly violent wave of attacks and intimidation from Dejan Nikolic Kantar, a powerful gambling businessperson. Pressure on the media…

Serbia: Tendering process of national FTA TV licences must be open and transparent

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in expressing concerns about the lack of a transparent process for the allocation of national free to air (FTA) TV licences in Serbia and of a Development Strategy for radio and audiovisual media services. On 15th April 2022, Serbia’s Regulatory Electronic Media (REM) opened a tendering call for four national TV licences, which were reduced from the five frequencies previously available. We believe that the current allocation process lacks transparency. Broadcast frequencies are a limited resource that should be…

Serbia: Wave of lawsuits against investigative portal KRIK chills media freedom

We, the undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), express our concerns over the recent wave of vexatious lawsuits against the investigative portal Network for Investigation of Crime and Corruption (KRIK) in Serbia. We believe that these lawsuits are a form of strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPPs) that aim to stifle scrutiny and critical issues of public importance and demand urgent action from the Government and judiciary to impartially and swiftly address the growing phenomenon of SLAPPs in the country. In recent months, KRIK’s newsroom has been targeted by ten different procedures filed, in most cases, by…

Serbia: MFRR welcomes renewed convictions for murder of Slavko Ćuruvija

Guilty verdicts in retrial: an important step in long fight for justice The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined the partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR)  in welcoming the confirmed guilty verdicts handed down to four former officials in the Serbian state security services for the murder in 1999 of leading journalist and editor-in-chief Slavko Ćuruvija. The decision by the Higher Court in Belgrade to reaffirm the convictions in the retrial is an important victory for the family and all those involved in the long fight for justice for his assassination and represents another important milestone in the fight…

Serbia: Penal Code amendments require an open and comprehensive debate

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) express concern over the limited time and space available to openly debate various amendments of the Penal Code proposed by the Ministry of Justice of Serbia. While well intentioned, the amendments are problematic from a freedom of expression perspective. Our civil society organisations call for a broader and open consultation that comprehensively integrates the implications of the amendments on the exercise of human rights in Serbia.  We recognise that journalists in Serbia face numerous threats to their physical safety and are often the target of harassment…

Serbia: Investigative outlet KRIK sued by state security agency director

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is deeply concerned by the lawsuit targeted at a journalist and the editor-in-chief of the Network for Investigation of Crime and Corruption (KRIK) by the director of Serbia’s Security-Information Agency (BIA). The MFRR urges the BIA director Bratislav Gasic to immediately withdraw the civil lawsuit against KRIK and to refrain from weaponising the law to intimidate media outlets investigating the nexus between crime, corruption and politics in Serbia. The SLAPP lawsuit stems from anarticle KRIK published on April 9 which reported details of wiretapped conversations played as evidence in the murder trial of criminal…

Serbia: The government must support media freedom

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined ARTICLE 19 and the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in launching a report detailing the findings of a recent online fact-finding mission to Serbia. The report followed an international advocacy mission to Serbia, led by ARTICLE 19, that took place virtually from 29 January to 2 February 2021 in partnership with MFRR members and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS). The mission was joined by EFJ, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), International Press Institute (IPI), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The Center for Human Rights –…

Serbia: Groups condemn deafening silence of government over KRIK smear campaign

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined nine other media freedom groups in writing to the Serbian president Vučić and prime minister Brnabić to express serious concerns over the lack of a resolute government response to the dangerous smear campaign against independent news outlet KRIK. The muted response from government leaders was the main catalyst for four of the nine non-state members of the newly-established Working Group for the Security and Protection of Journalists to withdraw, undermining its work and posing questions over trust in the body. Read the letter.

Serbia: We condemn dangerous and baseless smear campaign aimed at KRIK

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined MFRR partners in condemning the smear campaign aimed at the Network for Investigation of Crime and Corruption (KRIK) by pro-government media outlets that propagated the baseless and dangerous claim that KRIK has a ‘secret deal’ with Veljko Belivuk, a recently arrested leader of an organised crime group.  On 9th and 10th March, a number of pro-Government media outlets alleged that KRIK is coordinating with Belivuk to monitor or threaten the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić. Tabloid newspapers, including The Serbian Telegraph, Kurir and Alo published front-page articles that KRIK is Belivuk’s private media. Alo stated…

International mission is assessing the state of media freedom in Serbia

An online international mission to assess the state of media freedom and the safety of journalists in Serbia is taking place from 28 January to 1 February 2021. The mission is led by ARTICLE 19 as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which monitors, tracks and responds to violations of press freedom and threats against journalists and media workers in European Union Member States and Candidate Countries. The mission is organised in partnership with the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), one of the affiliates of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in Serbia. The MFRR partners, including…