April 15, 2020


In response to an article about the lack of protective equipment for doctors and nurses at the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Ana Lalić – a journalist of the Nova.rs portal – was detained by police and held overnight. She was reported to the police by the hospital in Vojvodina, where the majority of people infected by the corona virus are being treated, for disturbing the public and damaging the hospital’s reputation.

News of the journalist’s arrest and detention prompted responses from journalists’ associations, the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, the OSCE, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and other international organisations of journalists.

While the case against her proceeds, the journalist will defend herself from a position of freedom. She is threatened with up to five years in prison for the crime of causing panic and disorder.

Editor of the Kosovska Mitrovica-based portal KoSSev, Tatjana Lazarević, was taken into custody by the intervention unit of the Kosovo police during the ban on movement. She was released after being held for an hour. Lazarević said that she had with her her press ID card, a protective mask and gloves, that she was performing a task related to journalism and that, according to the measures imposed by the Kosovo government, journalists are exempt from the ban on movement.

The detaining of the KoSSev portal editor was condemned by the OSCE, the Western Balkans Regional Platform, UNS and UNS in Kosovo.

An email has been received by the portal direktno.rs which reads “you should all be killed and destroyed”. Responding to this event, the portal noted that it had previously come under attack from the Serbian authorities.

The Western Balkans Regional Platform strongly condemned the threats issued against the editorial department of the Direktno portal and called for a swift investigation and the punishing of the perpetrators.