The International Press Institute (IPI) and another nine media freedom groups have sent a joint letter to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic expressing their serious concerns over the lack of resolute government response to the smear campaign targeting the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK).
“The muted response from government leaders was the main catalyst for four of the nine non-state members of the newly-established Working Group for the Security and Protection of Journalist to withdraw, undermining its work and posing questions over trust in the body,” it says in the letter compiled jointly by the ten organizations, which are part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR).
The signees are urging the Serbian government to take necessary steps to put a stop to threats against the independent media in Serbia and “to sanction such discrediting tactics and threats by all institutional means possible.”
They point out that the members of the ruling party, the Serbian Progressive Party, have continued to attack journalists, instead of unequivocally defending them, adding that, “this has had significant implications for the Serbian government’s commitment to media freedom and the protection of at-risk journalists and media workers.”
The letter has also been sent to the officials of the European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the United Nations. Among the signees are the IPI, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, Reporters without Borders, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.