The Coalition of journalists’ and media associations called on public on Thursday to defend professional media and journalists who had been exposed to insults, serious threats and whose safety was jeopardised, the Beta news agency reported.
In its statement, the Coalition said that in the last several days only, some journalists were publicly lynched on social networks which had been masterminded and organised “in the manner of Joseph Goebbels.”
Two days after the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) published a photo showing together President Aleksandar Vucic’s brother Andrej and Zvonko Veselinovic, Kosovo Serb infamous businessman, a campaign on social networks erupted.
It contained open threats to Slobodan Georgijev, a BIRN programme coordinator, alongside to those made against BIRN, Serbia’s Centre for Investigative Journalism (CINS) and Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK).
The campaign included Georgiev’s edited statements in a video clip, followed by comments describing him as “a foreign mercenary,” “a traitor,” and “an associate of the Albanian and Kosovo politicians.”
Besides, the Informer tabloid’s cover pages were inserted in the video with headlines about BIRN’s “profitable businesses” for foreign donors, which had been dismissed by a court as untrue. The video also targeted CINS and KRIK journalists.
The statement recalled the most recent threats to three young associates of the Independent Society of Vojvodina’s Journalists (NDNV), the authors of the “Albanians are Our Sisters” 2017 documentary.
“This latest serial of threats, unfortunately, shows that a part of the public has a perception that the violence against professional journalists is allowed, if not desirable,” the Coalition statement said.