Radonjic: By participating in the negative campaign and defamation of Oliver Ivanovic, they also participated in his murder


People living in Kosovo must have a say when it comes to their lives. It is not right, nor moral, and I believe that it is also not political to impose someone’s will on anyone. Oliver was an authentic representative of the Kosovo Serbs and as such he was expelled from this society – NIN journalist and the author of the book „Oliver, amongst brothers,“ Milan Radonjic said on the “Novo jutro” show on N1 TV.

On the eve of the third anniversary of the assassination of the most famous leader of Kosovo Serbs, which has yet to be resolved, the latest issue of the NIN weekly comes with a book about the murder that greatly disturbed the public.

We live in a society in which the law of force and not the force of law still rules, the author of the book, Milan Radonjic said, adding:

„We must change that. One of the reasons why this book was written is because, in a way, one has no right to talk about Kosovo if that policy does not have a direct effect on his life.“

According to him, the motive that pervades the entire book is the question of whether „we are doomed to lies, of whether it is the only way in which this society can function.“

The Copernican turn in politics and the media tsunami
„According to all the parameters of what constitutes a state (…), new ID cards, area codes, now the energy system, the signing of the Brussels Agreement is a Copernican turn, a major policy change. This cannot be done without showing some honesty to the society this affects. So, that must be said. On the other hand, we had a media tsunami of stories about how everything is the same, how Kosovo is Serbia, and how we will never give up anything… And in that difference between the PR – that is, the same old story from the 1990s and 2000s, and those changes in the field – which the people of Mitrovica had to survive.
We have a situation in which the people who are part of that structure, who are part of Srpska Lista, accused people and political opponents of being ‘those who got Kosovo documents’, that’s an argument, and that is one of the things agreed within the Brussels Agreement. That hypocrisy of doing one thing and saying another thing – it has its price, especially for people who do not want to live in lies and fear – and Oliver was one of those people.“

Radonjic underlined that Oliver Ivanovic was never a war criminal, adding that one part of the media had to treat him as such while the trial was in progress.

Speaking about the trial Ivanovic went through in the years before the murder, Radonjic further noted that former Defense Minister Nebojsa Rodic should reveal as to why the VBA (the Serbian Military Security Agency) wrote in its February 2014 report for EULEX that, according to operational data, Oliver Ivanovic was a member of the police reserve programme.

„When the EULEX prosecutor’s office reads this information, it loads everything negative that was related to the reserve police force. We will put aside the fact that the VBA has no need to collect operational data on civilians, unless they directly threaten the military. However, that memo in which this is mentioned, as one of the possibilities that the prosecution is on the right track, was an integral part of the file in the three-year long process led against Ivanovic! He was in prison the entire time. Later, the MIA revealed that he was not part of the police reserve… But between those two reports, some time had passed – time he spent in prison. Answers should be provided as to why was this necessary,“ he said.
Poor state of Serbian media

In his book, Radonjic writes about the fine line between a media lynching and murder by using the example of Oliver Ivanovic and the negative media campaign led against him months before the murder and after his release from prison.

„When you look at the things TV Most published at the time, you can tell that Oliver was secretly filmed at the time – which means that they received footage from someone who was secretly following Oliver Ivanovic. That is going beyond the media domain and slowly entering the domain of this second assassination, a physical assassination,“ Radonjic emphasized.

„People in Serbia, and people who call themselves our colleagues, must know that by participating in the campaign, defamation of Oliver Ivanovic, they participated in his murder. Even today, when some other people are being crucified and when some other young colleagues who are entering journalism do these things and publish such texts, they must know that this kind of unprofessionalism has a potentially horrible price.“

What is happening in the Serbian media space is not normal, Radonjic stressed, emphasizing that it must be stopped and that things must change.

„We must think about what kind of society and country we are leaving to those who will come after us.“

He further warned that the actions of those who created and participated in the smear media campaign against Oliver Ivanovic will not be forgotten.

„This is not a threat in terms of retaliation, but simply – these things must be discovered and one day they will be. Because if we let this go then we leave the possibility for it to happen again. The people going through a media lynching today will one day suffer as well.“
An authentic political leader

Radonjic describes Oliver Ivanovic as an authentic political leader of Kosovo Serbs, noting that he has been perceiving Ivanovic as such as early as June ’99 and all the events in which Oliver Ivanovic participated as an equal interlocutor.

„I still do not understand how people, especially people from Mitrovica, dared to say all those things they said about him without being afraid that the ground beneath them will open up and swallow them up. First of all, they had the opportunity to stay in that town because of Oliver and several other people who managed to prevent the exodus that was inevitable back in June 1999.“

„One of the messages this book sends is that we must not forget what someone did for one society and that it should not be erased,“ he said.

Hypocrisy

When asked why was the book written from the first-person point of view, Radonjic pointed out that according to various research about what Kosovo means for Serbs, Kosovo is always somewhere in the background, but if something important happens, it goes higher on the value scale.

„We must not allow this hypocrisy to continue; when we talk about Kosovo, we must have skin in the game, and be really ready to respond to the consequences of our words. If someone in Belgrade argues that we will never do this or that, they must know that it is always a little harder for people living in Kosovo,“ Radonjic explained.

„Oliver was our link with foreigners. He knew how to communicate with them and he lived down there and as such he had every right to ponder and make some judgments. When it comes to our relationship with Belgrade, there is some hypocrisy, and an abstract consciousness about Kosovo.“

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