House of journalist who wrote about local government abuse set ablaze

December 16, 2018

Unknown nocturnal attackers threw “Molotov cocktails” through a window of the garage of the house of Milan Jovanović, a journalist of a local portal from a Belgrade suburb, causing a fire to break out, after which they also fired shots at the house.

In the fire that destroyed both the garage and the house, the entire property of Jovanović and his wife was destroyed. The couple survived the attack when Jovanović’s wife heard the noise and pulled her husband from the inferno, after he’d already succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović confirmed that the fire was a deliberate act and that the police are on the hunt for the attacker or attackers. The attack on the journalist’s house provoked condemnation on all side – from Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, journalist associations, the public and international organisations.

Jovanović, who writes for local portal, said that he previously received threats in response to articles he wrote about the construction of sewage systems, the misappropriation of funds from gas installation works and alleged abuses by the president of Belgrade’s suburban municipality of Grocka, where he lives.

Speaking for the Cenzolovka portal, he said that he’d informed the Serbian president, prime minister and minister of justice about incidents in that municipality, but that there was no reaction. He also said that this attack won’t stop him and that he won’t stop writing about thieves and the mafia, even if the cost is that they kill him.

With Jovanović and his wife having lost literally everything they own in the fire, the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation responded that same day by calling on all journalists and other associations, as well as individuals, to donate money for the purchase of a device for oxygen, an inhalation device and medicines, given that Jovanović suffers from asthma and has had three heart bypasses.

Within a period of just eight hours, via platforms for the payment of donations, more than the 800 euros required for the purchase of these supplies were collected, so the campaign to collect funds was continued in an effort to provide the Jovanović family with food, clothing, personal hygiene items and other essentials. More than 10,000 euros had been collected just three days after the launch of the campaign for donations.