The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 8,000 members, strongly condemns the physical attack on Zoran Jovanovic, photo reporter of newspaper Vecernje novosti and welcomes the prompt reaction of the police.
On Friday, May 24, while he was doing his job and photographed the area where the parking zone will be located in Carlija Caplina Street in Belgrade, an unknown man approached to press photographer Zoran Jovanovic and said that he can’t take pictures there. After Jovanovic explained that he is doing his job and need the photo for illustration for article regarding new parking zone and that the street is a public space where free taking photos is allowed, the man began to yell, kick the Jovanovic and his camera, and finally spat him. After that, he threatened that he will set on fire the driver Svetozar Miranovic and their vehicle.
The case was immediately reported to the police, and they reacted quickly, went to the place of attack and arrested the abuser.
“Tensions in our society grow from year to year, and journalists and media professionals feel it very painfully. This time, our colleague Jovanovic was attacked while he was doing his job. It’s great that the police responded quickly and we hope for a fast judicial epilogue. Unfortunately, IJAS registered third physical attack in our database counting this attack on press photographer of Vecernje Novosti since the beginning of the year,” said Zeljko Bodrozic, president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia.
Since the beginning of 2019, IJAS has recorded 56 pressures, physical and verbal attacks on media professionals.
The Regional Platform supports IJAS in its efforts to protect journalists and freedom of speech and call on relevant authorities to conduct the proceeding to the end and adequately punish the perpetrator.
We remind that every attack on a journalist is an attack on the public interest, democracy and human rights.
The Platform will inform all European institutions of this incident and request their intervention in the area of media freedom and safety of journalists in the Western Balkans region.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, 28.05.2019.
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia