Serbian authorities urged to protect journalist

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The Western Balkan's Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists' Safety, which represents more than 8000 members, strongly condemns serious threats and hate messages directed to the Serbian journalist Tatjana Vojtehovski and her daughter.

As Serbia faces citizens' street protests against the current government, Tatjana Vojtehovski, journalist and an author of TV programmes, publicly commented the events. Her public reactions caused a new wave of threats via social media, including hideous threats against her life and the life and wellbeing of her daughter.

Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia (IJAS) reported the incidents to the authorities on 27.12.2018 and Vojtehovski gave a statement to the High Tech Crime division of the Serbian police. She has published some of the threats she had received on her Twitter account. Addressing President Aleksandar Vucic she stated that such threats are direct result of his narrative and he has to face it.

"This is not the first time Vojtehovski faced such threats - in May 2018 one man was arrested, but this obviously had no deterring effect." - Slavisa Lekic, the president IJAS said. "Vojtehovski's statement directed to the president Vucic sounds the loudest alarm: the highest officials must do absolutely everything in their power to prevent creation of poisonous atmosphere in the society, not encourage it."

The Regional Platform requests from the competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia to immediately take all legal measures against individuals who threaten Tatjana Vojtehovski and her daughter and all necessary measures to protect them. It calls upon the highest public officials of the Republic of Serbia to publicly and unequivocally condemn threats and messages of hate against Vojtehovski and other journalists and counter the atmosphere of hate towards journalists in the Serbian society.

At the same time, we call international organisations to exert additional pressure on the authorities in Serbia to respect the freedom of expression and freedom of the media and to ensure the safety of journalists.

In 2018 Serbia recorded 98 incidents, 7 were physical attacks, 21 verbal threats while IJAS recorded 70 other types of pressures against journalists.

Every attack on journalists is an attack on the public interest, democracy, and rights of all citizens.

BH Journalists Association

Trade Union of Media of Montenegro

Croatian Journalists' Association

Association of Journalists of Kosovo

Association of Journalists of Macedonia

Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

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