Ongoing Tensions in Fragile Environments

In Serbia, independent journalism still targeted

Media freedom remains a dilemma affecting the lives and work of hundreds of journalists in Serbia. Smear campaigns, online threats and other attempts to demonise independent media outlets are a consistent trend and a grim reality in Serbia's digital environment.

A bus drives past a billboard featuring a message from Aleksandar Sapic a candidate for a member of Parliament in Belgrade, Serbia, 15 June 2020. The Parliamentary elections are to take place in Serbia on 21 June 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

In an interview with VOA, Stevan Dojcinovic, editor-in-chief of the KRIK independent investigative outlet, urged pro-government media, tabloids and other political opponents to respect media freedom and refrain from interfering with the work of investigative reporters.

But criminal investigations, political confrontation, and dealing with other sensitive issues remain slippery slopes for independent media, whose journalists continue to suffer attacks and other attempts at denigration.

Three cases we recorded in the first half of November show that this trend is far from reversed. Journalists in Serbia remain on the frontline.

On November 4, Aleksandar Šapić, vice president of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and president of the New Belgrade Municipality, sued Nenad Kulačin and Marko Vidojković, hosts of the Nova podcast "Dobar, loš, zao" ("The Good, The Bad, The Ugly") for defamation.

The politician through his lawyer demanded compensation of 1.1 million dinars (about 9,500 euros) for damage to his reputation and psychological trauma, citing statements the duo made in 10 podcast shows. Šapić's lawyer alleged that his client had been...

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