Vanja Djuric and Zeljko Veljkovic (screenshshot, N1, Nova S)

CPJ and IPI: Serbian authorities must conduct swift investigation into threats against Cenzolovka newsroom

January 31, 2024

The Serbian authorities must show that threatening journalists with violence and death over their reporting is completely unacceptable and implement all measures necessary to ensure that journalists are protected, says Attila Mong, European representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, speaking with regard to threats received by the Cenzolovka editorial office after the publishing of an article on the threats received by journalists Vanja Đurić and Željko Veljković of independent cable television channels N1 and Nova S.

The witch-hunt against Đurić and Veljković, which was orchestrated by right-wingers, but also government-controlled tabloids and television stations, began in response to comments made by Đurić and Veljković about a girl from Kosovo who sang nationalist songs ahead of a Red Star basketball game.

Hundreds of comments on the X network saw the journalists threatened with beatings, banishment from Serbia and death, with them being declared traitors to the country.

When Cenzolovka, the portal that’s published by the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, published an article drawing public attention to the verbal torment and threats received by Đurić and Veljković, hundreds of new insults and threats were issued, including death threats, to which Cenzolovka was also added, as well as others daring to express solidarity with the journalists.

Apart from the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, these death threats against journalists and the editorial office of Cenzolovka have also been condemned by the International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders, the Safe Journalists index and other international organisations.

The threats were reported to the office of the prosecution and an investigation was launched, though nothing is yet known about its results.