The National Convention on the European Union (NCEU), the working group on Chapter 35 and the Intergovernmental Subgroup on the Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom expressed concern over the statement the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic made in Beijing, with which „the independent media from Kosovo and Metohija who report in the Serbian language were attacked and labeled in a very crude manner.“ They also criticized the attacks on other independent journalists in Serbia, which are damaging the „reputation of our country in Europe and the world,“ while reminding the President of his own claims that „he has not referred to anyone as domestic traitors or foreign mercenaries since 2012.“
„In his statement, the President of Serbia claims that the ‘foreigners’ created the media in Kosovo and Metohija in order to ‘destroy the reputation of Srpska Lista’ and ‘to lead a campaign to criminalize the north of Kosovo and Serbs in Kosovo.’ These arbitrary assessments negatively affect the work of independent media and impair their safety in the complex circumstances in which they normally operate. We expect the President of the Republic of Serbia to send messages of encouragement and support to independent media, especially those operating in areas where civil rights and security are jeopardized daily,“ the NCEU and its bodies wrote in a statement.
The NCEU reminded the President of Serbia of a statement he gave during the Internal Dialogue with the representatives of the NCEU working group on Chapter 35 that „he never divided the Serbs into good and bad“ and that „he has not referred to anyone as domestic traitors or foreign mercenaries since 2012.“ The NCEU expressed hope that the President will show consistency on this matter throughout his term of office.
They also expressed concern over the attacks on other independent journalists in Serbia, as well as the cancellation of the space for the organization of the „Freedom of expression on the path to European values“ forum that was scheduled to be held in Nis, organized by the Institute of European Affairs.
Finally, they remind that „Serbia has recorded a 14 place drop in the review of media freedom by Reporters without Borders, which is a clear illustration of the deteriorated state of media freedom and freedom of speech, as well as the overall reputation of our country in Europe and the world.“
The National Convention on the European Union is a permanent body within which a thematically structured debate on the accession of Serbia to the European Union is held between representatives of state administration, political parties, NGOs, experts, economists, trade unions and professional organizations.
In addition to other bodies, the NCEU is composed of 35 working groups, one for each chapter in EU accession negotiations, and the working group on Chapter 35, which deals with the process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, is the only one which includes organizations and individuals from Kosovo.
President Vucic on the media „from Kosovska Mitrovica to Leposavic, Gracanica“
The Serbian President accused the Serb media in Kosovo of „destroying the reputation of Srpska Lista“ in Beijing earlier this week.
„Just look at how many media the foreigners have created in the north of Kosovo, how many media foreigners have created just to destroy the reputation of Srpska Lista. Look at all the campaigns that are being conducted to criminalize the north of Kosovo, to criminalize Serbs in Kosovo,“ the President stated.
According to him, “millions of dollars” were invested in “10 media outlets from Kosovska Mitrovica to Leposavic, Gracanica,” however, in his words, it was all “for nothing.”
“You all know it and it’s all for nothing, you have 10 media outlets from Kosovska Mitrovica to Leposavic, Gracanica that you created and it is all for nothing. The millions of dollars that you invested are all for nothing. The Serbs do not want them, Serbs know what they are intended for, and Serbs know which flag they are supporting and what country they love. Serbs in Kosovo have their red-blue-white flag, they have no other,” he explained, while talking about the failure to confirm Srpska Lista candidates for participation in the elections announced by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.
Vucic spoke about the media in the north of Kosovo again last night. He described them as „espionage media networks“ which are becoming „the main providers of information in central Serbia and beyond.“ Read more about it in the following news: Vucic: „The espionage media networks in Kosovo are the main providers of information in central Serbia and they are breaking the Serbian unity“
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