Serbian B92 journalists under government attack

By EDRi · August 24, 2005

ANEM, the Association of Independent Electronic Media in Serbia has issued
an alarming statement about the lack of respect for press freedom in the
country. ANEM “protests strongly at the re-emergence of unacceptable and
irresponsible rhetoric in the public arena in Serbia” and “urges all
democratic public and professional journalism and media associations to
express solidarity with journalists and media who are subject to attacks
and threats.”

On 15 August 2005 Capital Investments Minister Velimir Ilic called the
journalists from the renowned radio and television station B92 “sick and
in need of a psychiatric clinic”. When a B92 journalist attempted to ask
him about his role in the withdrawal of charges against Marko Milosevic,
the son of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, the media advisor
of the minister, former state media journalist Petar Lazovic, stepped in.
He told the reporter to send a message to RTV B92 Director Veran Matic
that he would kill him.

Consequently, Minister Ilic burst out in a rage. Ilic said: “We’ve come
here for an important, a very serious investment. Ladies and gentlemen
from B92, wherever you go you make chaos. Wherever you come you practice
provocation. You’re sick, you need a psychiatric clinic, you need to go
for collective treatment. You need treatment at Kopaonik, we’ll make a
centre for you, to take care of you. I can promise you that, here I’ll
promise you that your great professional, Veran Matic, makes people look
like idiots in Serbia. I claim that openly. We’ve gathered here for a
serious matter. You’re just talking about Marko Milosevic, forget Marko,
why is Marko so important in your life? Please, don’t get in our way in
this serious work.”

Culture and Information Minister Dragan Kojadinovic responded bravely, by
firing his own media advisor for similar statements about B92. He also
told the weekly Svedok: “It seems to me that the next step is for someone
to pull out a gun and shoot at a journalist, which happened in the
Milosevic era.”

B92 is famous in the internet community for using the Internet so
effectively to circumvent government restrictions and remain strictly

Minister Warns Journalists May Be Shot (23.08.2005)