Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Serbia: Broadcasting of investigative TV shows postponed over security concerns


This statement was originally published on anem.org.rs on 9 March 2015.

The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) expresses its full solidarity with editor Brankica Stankovic and a journalist of the investigative program “Insider”.

ANEM also expresses solidarity with one of its members, TV B92, in relation to the attacks they are facing, which have led to the postponement of the broadcasting of the program “Reporter”. ANEM is calling on the state authorities to ensure the security of the above-mentioned journalists and to provide for conditions where the media will not have to delay their broadcasts.

TV B92 has announced that it has decided – in agreement with Brankica Stankovic – to indefinitely postpone the program “Reporter” produced by the “Insider” team. TV B92's statement says that the decision was guided by security concerns and the desire to protect “Insider”'s journalists.

The first episode of the “Reporter” series was aired on March 2, on the topic of the embezzlement of the largest Serbian football clubs. The organizations concerned – Red Star and Partizan – reacted by issuing press releases prior to the broadcast of “Reporter”, accusing the journalists of causing damage to the state and society as a whole.

Through media outlets that they are friendly with, the management of said clubs ridiculed the government's decision to put Brankica Stankovic under police protection. Meanwhile, a journalist for “Reporter” was prevented from interviewing the Manager of the Red Star football club by the fans of the team.

Appalled by the reaction of the state to the lies in the campaign waged against her, Brankica Stankovic requested the security to be revoked, at her personal responsibility.

ANEM wants to stress that, in a country where we haven't been able to identify the murderers of journalists Dada Vujasinovic and Milan Pantic – and we are still waiting for the trial for the assassination of Slavko Curuvija – the state should to take every attack and threat that journalists are exposed to, very seriously. The government should invest additional efforts and use its authority to ensure the protection of journalists and freedom of expression.

Serbian authorities not only have these obligations to journalists, but to citizens, whose constitutional right is to be informed about matters of public interest, by media that is free of fear.