Freedom House and Human Rights Watch reports show freedom declining in Serbia

January 21, 2018

Journalists in Serbia continued to work in a disadvantageous environment in 2017, while media freedom continued to decline, according to the conclusions of the regular annual reports of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Freedom House.

In the part of the HRW report related to the media in Serbia, it is noted that attacks on journalists continued in 2017, to which the relevant institutions reacted inadequately, pro-government media continued leading a campaign against independent media and journalists, and several cases of murders of journalists have yet to be resolved.

They are reminded of the case of the six journalists attacked during the presidential inauguration of 31st May, the lawsuit filed by the interior minister against reputable weekly NIN, as well as the as-yet-still-unresolved cases of the murders of journalists Slavko Ćuruvija, Dada Vujasinović and Milan Pantić.

Freedom House states in its report that Serbia is marking a decline in democracy “thanks to the reinforcing of President Vučić’s power”. According to this report, European leaders’ tolerance of his authoritarian tendencies enabled him to further subdue the opposition following his victory in the presidential election in April, demolishing what is left of the independent media “through the undermining of critically-minded journalists with financial investigations and defamations in media outlets close to the government”.