mediawatch on Mon, 25 Feb 2008 17:16:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> B92 Statement (Modified by Geert Lovink)

B92 pressed criminal charges against anonymous perpetrators

Belgrade, February 25, 2008 – B92 has submitted criminal charges to the 
Fourth Municipal Public Prosecutor’s Office today, thus directly 
informing police authorities about numerous threats of physical 
liquidation that B92 journalists and editors had received, primarily 
through electronic mail, for the last couple of days.

We consider those threats as an attempt to exert pressure on our media 
company to change our editorial policy, as well as to force us to 
suppress facts and filter the news, thus allowing restriction of free 
flow of information, ideas and opinions. We are determined and resolute 
to resist such pressures, as we have successfully done in the past.

B92 points out that the defense of the constitutional order, governance 
of law and democratic heritage calls for defense of freedom of 
expression and press freedom. Valid Constitution and legal regulations 
in this country guarantee freedom of the press and prohibit censorship. 
Valid legal acts in this country prohibit physical and any other 
threats directed towards journalists and media in general.

We are aware of the fact that difficult situation our society had faced 
with contributed to the dregs of society coming to surface. The 
messages we’ve received bear witness to this as its contents lack 
refinement and are abundant in vulgarities. The way the messages are 
sent (from a fictitious email addresses, usually via West European and 
American anonymous electronic mail providers), reflects hypocrisy and 
cowardice of its senders.

The outcome of the charges pressed so far against threats and assaults 
is not encouraging. Throughout all these years, only a single case 
ended with court conviction that came into effect as the suspended 
prison sentence. Other cases either expired, or criminal acts are being 
qualified more mildly then we think it is appropriate, the perpetrators 
are not being revealed, or in case they are, the procedure of indicting 
them is being unnecessarily prolonged.

B92 insists that this bad practice change, meaning that pressures, 
threats and assaults on media and journalists should face criminal 
proceedings and appropriate sanctions in a way that will acknowledge 
full awareness of the state about the significance of media freedom in 
a democratic society. That will, in turn, result not only in protecting 
B92 and its journalists, but also in protecting the right of the public 
to be duly informed about the issues it is entitled to know about.

Veran Matic


The OSCE condemns attacks on journalists

BELGRADE, 25 February, 2008 – The Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, 
Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad, criticized violent attacks aimed at 
journalists following last week’s  ”Kosovo is Serbia” rally in 

“Targeted or indiscriminate violence or threats against those who cover 
news stories is a serious violation of journalists’ rights to carry out 
their work freely and objectively report on the current events in the 

“Serbian citizens as well as others are thus denied their right to a 
free and open flow of information. Freedom of expression is enshrined 
in numerous international agreements and in the constitutions of most 
countries, including Serbia.”

Ambassador Urstad condemned the ongoing direct threats against B92 and 
other media and called for better protection of all national and 
international journalists.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Miklos Haraszti also 
decried the violence and explicit and indirect threats against media 
and emphasised that “also during times of tension or unauthorized 
demonstrations, journalists must be allowed to carry out their duty of 

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