Foto: Marko Risović

Journalist whose house was set ablaze now targetted by intruder

December 31, 2019

An unknown assailant (or assailants) attempted to break into the apartment that recently became the residence of Milan Jovanović, the journalist of local news portal whose house in the Belgrade suburb of Vrčin was set on fire on 12th December.

Speaking for portal Cenzolovka, Jovanović said that he heard someone breaking the door of the balcony, both wings of which were prised open with a crowbar. When he leapt out of bed and yelled, the burglar, whose silhouette could be seen on the balcony, escaped via the building’s yard.

Police conducted a search and informed Jovanović verbally that he would be under police protection for the succeeding 24 hours. This journalist doubts that this could be a case of another attempt to attack or intimidate him, because the incident occurred just three days after he relocated to an apartment known only to the members of his family.

It was only a few days earlier that Jovanović had told media he believed the firebombing of his house had been ordered by the president of the Belgrade municipality of Grocka, whose alleged abuses of power he had written about on the portal, and that he feared for his safety due to police having failed to arrest whoever was responsible for ordering that his house be set ablaze. Police have otherwise arrested one person suspected of organising the arson attack and two suspected assailants, one of whom has in the meantime admitted guilt and been sentenced to six months of house arrest and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 dinars.

The country’s largest journalists’ associations have requested that those responsible for ordering this latest attack on Jovanović been identified urgently, protesting that the Serbian Interior Ministry failed to take adequate measures to protect this journalist after his house was burnt down. The Association of Journalists of Serbia has called on other journalists to investigate allegations of corruption in the municipality of Grocka, about which Jovanović wrote.

Also calling for solidarity among journalists was Veran Matić, president of the Commission for the Investigating of Murders of Journalists, who suggested that “all leading Serbian newsrooms should investigate, leisurely and from the beginning, at least one story each among those that published by Milan Jovanović about how decisions are made and how taxpayers’ money is spent in the Municipality of Grocka.”