For a couple of days last month, uninformed tourists visiting Serbia could easily have believed that the country is a Russian outpost. With large photos of Vladimir Putin on their covers, Serbian tabloids--by far the biggest source of print information in the country--were engaged in a discussion over whether the Russian President would defend Serbia and its contested part of Kosovo, or trade it for recognition of Crimea. Added to that were front-page headlines evoking Cold War rhetoric, including the government-controlled Informer's September 20 edition, "Putin: I Can Destroy the States in Half an Hour."
Slavko Curuvija was killed 15 years ago, but Veran Matić, a veteran journalist of Serbia’s independent media, never forgot.
Curuvija, an influential independent newspaper owner in what was then Yugoslavia, was shot in the back on April 11, 1999, by two men outside his apartment building. Curuvija was well known for his criticism of President Slobodan Milosovic, and there was evidence implicating Milosovic’s intelligence services in the attack—but no one was ever brought to justice. Other murders of journalists in what was then Yugoslavia also went unsolved, including the 2001 fatal assault on crime reporter Milan Pantic, and the death of Radoslava Dada Vujasinovic. Vujasinovic, who investigated corruption in Milosovic’s government, was found in her apartment with gunshot wounds in 1994. Her death was labeled a suicide.
Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory.
By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."
Serbian authorities stepped up law enforcement efforts in attacks against journalists, winning convictions in high-profile cases, even as they pursued some restrictive media policies. These sometimes contradictory media practices reflected the broader political goals of President Boris Tadic, who pursued liberal policies such as seeking European Union membership and reconciling with neighboring Balkan states, while appealing to conservatives by refusing to recognize Kosovo's independence and failing to arrest indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic.
New York, July 26, 2010—Serbian authorities must thoroughly investigate the brutal attack on Teofil Pancic, a reporter for the independent weekly Vreme, and consider journalism as a potential motive, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, June 3, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrests of three additional suspects in the October 2008 murders of Ivo Pukanic, owner and editorial director of the Zagreb-based political weekly Nacional, and Niko Franjic, the publication's marketing director. Three other suspects had been arrested in November 2008.
Dear Mr. President, The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the recent attacks on the Belgrade-based independent broadcaster B92 and its founder, Veran Matic. The attacks started in the wake of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on February 17--culminating in the siege of the station by angry protesters on February 21--and have continued since.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.