The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) harshly condemned the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s assessment that independent journalists from the north of Kosovo are „espionage media networks directly paid from the outside, and they are destroying the unity of the Serb people in Kosovo.“
NUNS emphasized that this is not the first time that „our colleagues from the north of Kosovo are placed under pressure“, and that „they were victims of direct physical, verbal and hacker attacks on several occasions.“
„NUNS recalls that such rhetoric is very dangerous, especially in Kosovo where the situation has been on the verge of conflict for years now. We recall that the authorities attacked and slandered Oliver Ivanovic with similar rhetoric, which was followed with a brutal murder,“ NUNS wrote in a statement, demanding that the President of Serbia „withdraws this statement as soon as possible and sends an apology to journalists from the north of Kosovo who are doing their jobs honestly and professionally.”
The President of Serbia spoke twice about the media from the north of Kosovo and from Gracanica during his visit to China. He accused them of acting against Serbia and Serb unity in Kosovo.
Vucic talked about the Kosovo Serb media on Thursday, underlining that there are ten of them from Mitrovica to Leposavic and Gracanica, who were „paid by foreigners.“ Furthermore, he accused them of „destroying the reputation of Srpska Lista, of destroying it and separating it from Belgrade.“
A day later, the President again spoke about the Serbian media in Kosovo, primarily in the north, which he now defined as „espionage media networks“ that are becoming „the main providers of information in central Serbia and beyond.“
The National Convention on the European Union condemned Vucic’s statements, reminding him of his own claims that „he has not referred to anyone as domestic traitors or foreign mercenaries since 2012.“
The Democratic Party also reacted today, assessing these statements as „drawing a target on journalists in Kosovo.”
Budimir Nicic: Vucic drew a target on almost all Serbian media in Kosovo
Two journalists from Kosovo – Sanja Sovrlic from the Crno-Beli Svet portal and the President of the Kosovo branch of the Association of Journalists of Serbia, Budimir Nicic also condemned the Serbian President’s statements during their guest appearance on the New Day talk-show on N1 today.
Sovrlic interpreted the statement on „the espionage media networks aimed at breaking Serbian unity“ as an indicator that the media will be targeted in the upcoming election campaign in the north of Kosovo. She urged the president to return to „argumentative debate, and not to discredit without arguments“.
Nicic assessed this statement as „drawing a target on journalists“, but also as a danger to the President himself.
„First of all, the President drew a target on almost all Serbian media in Kosovo with such a statement, because 45,000 people voted for Srpska Lista, and perhaps there is someone among them who will believe in such a lump sum statement by the President and take the matter into his own hands to protect Srpska Lista from the destruction and damage to their reputation by, for example, killing one of us, beating up, burning someone’s car or house,“ he stressed.
„This situation can also be exploited by someone who is not a sympathizer of Srpska Lista, someone who does not like the work of the Serbian media, and I believe that there are many who think that, and they could later place blame on the Serbian President,” Nicic pointed out.
He urged the President to speak up publicly or tell the media „if he knows something“:
„However, the President has chosen the worst way – I will label everyone, but I will not provide any proof of it. I think that’s wrong,“ concluded Nicic.
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