World Press Freedom Day marked in Serbia and Montenegro

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Serbia and Montenegro

Belgrade Media Center, Independent Union of Journalists of Serbia and Independent Media Union "Independence" called all media to interrupt their program for five minutes at 11:55 to mark World Press Freedom Day. Most of the media also read an announcement requesting that the murderers of journalists in Serbia and Montenegro are brought to justice. Four cases of murders of journalists still remain unresolved:

  • Dada Vujasinović, a "Duga" journalist was found dead in her apartment in Belgrade on April 8, 1994. Preliminary investigation characterized this case as suicide, but Vujasinović's family hired a group of forensics who found samples of blood of two different people on a chair where she was found. The District Court renewed the case in 1998, but results were never made public. The case was renewed again in 2002, with no results.
  • Slavko Ćuruvija, the owner of "Dnevni telegraf" (The Daily Telegraph) and magazine "Evropljanin" (The European) was shot in front of his apartment in Belgrade on April 11, 1999, during the NATO bombing. Official investigation yielded no results. After the change of government in 2000, a document "Ćuran Dossier" appeared in public, revealing that Ćuruvija was followed by the State Security Agency.
  • Milan Pantić, a journalist from Jagodina, was killed on March 7, 2005. The minister of police, Dragan Jočić, said that he was killed due to "circumstances" and that "there was no intent to kill him."
  • Duško Jovanović, an editor of "Dan," (The Day) was killed in front of his office in Podgorica on May 28, 2004. A car from which he was shot was found later, but the identity of his murderers is still unknown.

Serbian journalists also asked for the Radio Frequency Statute to take effect, as well as creating a government agency for telecommunication and abolishing jail sentences for slander.

Independent Union of Journalists of Montenegro asked for solidarity in the fight for media freedom. Representatives of journalist associations in Kosovo said that only certain journalists have freedom of expression, but that there is no mechanism to protect investigative reporting. Around one hundred journalists protested in front of the Kosovo Assembly building.