Journalists and other media workers have been exposed to threats, but have also suffered physical and verbal attacks, while reporting from the protests of the section of opposition parties claiming that irregularities occurred during the 17th December elections. According to the testimonies of journalists, members of the police also participated in the attacks.
During a live broadcast from one protest that turned violent, police attacked an Al Jazeera crew, with one police officer even grabbing the crew’s cameraman by the neck and dragging him away in order to prevent him filming the arrest of protesters.
Andrija Lazarević, a journalist of portal Nova.rs, was struck on the arm with a police baton, while another police officer attempted to take the camera of a photojournalist from agency Beta.
An unknown assailant physically assaulted TV N1 reporter Mladen Savatović while he was reporting from a protest. It took two days for the police to arrest the attacker, despite the entire attack – initially verbal, before escalating into a physical assault – having been recorded by a TV N1 camera.
Responding a day after this incident, President Aleksandar Vučić downplayed and scoffed at the attack on the N1 journalist, which prompted the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation to react by stating that it is unacceptable for the president to undermine and ridicule aggression against journalists.
The Coalition for Media Freedom and the SafeJournalists network jointly condemned the attacks against journalists and the use of excessive force by police during protests over election irregularities, as well as appealing to protest organisers, participants and the police to allow journalists to do their work safely and without hindrance.
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