The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic talked about the media in Kosovo for the third time last week. Upon returning from Beijing, last night however he did not place an emphasis on the media in the north as he did twice already, claiming that he was not referring only to the media in the north, but throughout Kosovo. The President made an attempt to clarify his statements from Beijing on Wednesday and Friday against a few Kosovo Serb independent media outlets which triggered intense reactions from the journalist and civil society associations, and individuals, including certain Kosovo Serb journalists.
During his guest appearance on the “Hit Tvit” show on TV Pink on Sunday evening he said that he “did not mention any media outlets”; yet, he said that the “foreigners established the media which are supposed to work on the criminalization of Serbs and gave millions”.
I did not mention any media outlets. I did not mention any by name, but I said that the foreigners established the media which are supposed to work on the criminalization of Serbs and that they gave millions. They said – it’s Vucic’s attack on independent media. No, no, it’s an attack on foreign services, but I accept that I am guilty of this as well, and I will tell you why: Because someone can understand that he is therefore allowed to attack some of the people working in such media
More voices have been warning of possible attacks threatening now against independent Kosovo Serb journalists, as an alert to his statements on „the espionage media networks in the north of Kosovo (and in Gracanica) working on breaking Serbian unity and Srpska Lista, and in which foreigners have invested millions of dollars.“
The President of the Kosovo branch of the Association of Journalists of Serbia, Budimir Nicic said that Vucic drew a target on all Serbian journalists in Kosovo with his statements, while the editor of KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarevic emphasized that he opened a front for possible attacks, both by his supporters and all those who are against him and against the freedom of speech and democracy.
The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) urged the Serbian president to apologize to journalists from Kosovo.
„I apologize. It’s not hard for me to say that, but did I essentially tell the truth when I talked about foreigners who want a weaker Serbia? There is no doubt that I told the truth, and this is not happening only in our country, this is happening in many countries around the world, this is a modus operandi,“ the Serbian President still reiterated his claims last night.
He claimed that he did not see the NUNS’s call but saw „some other people who sought an apology“ instead.
„Here, I apologize to them. I apologize to everyone who was hurt, and it is never a problem for me to apologize for anything, even when I did not mention the media and I did not mention any of them. I did not say anyone’s name, but I primarily criticized all those that I know had they started this campaign – the foreigners and I know why they need the destruction of the north of Kosovo. When I talked about it, you didn’t really believe… Luckily, Rada Trajkovic is not a journalist, so I can say… you do not think she came up with the story that the state of Serbia assassinated Oliver Ivanovic all by herself.“
What did the President say in Beijing last week
They are trying to bribe some of our people, they are organizing media espionage networks, especially in the north of Kosovo, they are paying millions of dollars and these (media) are becoming your main information providers in Central Serbia and in many other places. They are directly paid from the outside – with the sole purpose of destroying the unity of Serb people in the north of Kosovo and in other parts of Kosovo as well. Since this is not working, then they continue putting pressure on Serbia. And now you ask me if I was satisfied with the talks with President Xi Jinping and if I am satisfied with the talks with President Putin? Well, I am. They understand this problem, they notice it, they are not blind, they are normal people. I do not know what else to tell you,“ he said on Friday in Beijing.
Just look at how many media the foreigners have created in the north of Kosovo, how many media the foreigners 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… 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 said almost immediately upon landing at a Chinese airport on Wednesday.
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