PRESS RELEASE: To support, not attack the work of independent media

Release date: 26.04.2019.
NKEu_logo_srp.jpg The National Convention on the European Union (NCEU), the Working Group on Chapter 35 and the Inter-sectoral Sub-group on Freedom of Speech and Free Media express concern over the statement of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, during a visit to Beijing, in which independent media from Kosovo and Metohija reporting in Serbian are attacked and labeled in the worst way.

In his statement, the President of Serbia claims, among other things, that "foreigners" created a "network of agents" made of the media in Kosovo and Metohija in order to "destroy the reputation of the Serb List" and "run a campaign to criminalize the north of Kosovo and Serbs in Kosovo". These arbitrary assessments negatively affect the work of independent media and jeopardize their safety in the complex circumstances in which they already operate. We expect the President of the Republic of Serbia to send messages of encouragement and support to independent media, especially those working in areas where civil rights and security are threatened on a daily basis.

On this occasion, we also remind the President of the Republic of Serbia of the statement given during the Internal Dialogue with the representatives of the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 35 that "he never divided the Serbs to good and bad," and that "since 2012, he has not called anyone a domestic traitor or foreign mercenary." We expect the President of the Republic of Serbia to act in accordance with his statements given at that session.

The NCEU also expresses concern about the attacks on other independent journalists and media in Serbia, as well as the cancellation of the location for organization of the panel "Freedom of Expression on the Road to European Values" that was scheduled to be held in Nis, organized by the Institute for European Affairs.

In the end, we remind everybody that Serbia has recorded a drop of 14 ranks in the press freedom list of the Reporter without Borders, which is a clear illustration of the deteriorated state of media freedom and freedom of speech, as well as the overall image of our country in Europe and the world.