Jugoslav Cosic, Program Director of N1 for Serbia, says he takes very seriously all the threats made to this television broadcaster and its employees, “especially those that come from government and state representatives.”
Cosic also said in an interview that he would address all relevant international institutions, adding that N1’s legal team was preparing to file charges against all those people who called for a lynch of N1 journalists.
The attacks and threats followed N1 coverage of the #1in5million protest during which the protesters stormed the building where the state-run RTS TV has its headquarters. Some members of the Serbian government described N1’s reporting as “scandalous,” “hypocritical” and “uncivilized”.
“A strong, orchestrated campaign against N1 is being conducted. It directly jeopardises the safety of our journalists what is the most tragic (consequence) in the whole story. When such campaigns are launched, the results are impossible to predict. Unfortunately, the experience says they always lead to the risk of the journalists’ physical safety,” Cosic said.
He added he saw the campaign was aimed at discouraging the journalists from doing their job professionally.
“The media exist to do exactly what we are doing – to cover the events and report on them. The accusations saying we support violence and protests only because we are doing our job is just a red herring,” Cosic said.
He added that N1 had been receiving hundreds of threats daily and said they wouldn’t stop as long as the state campaign against the television was underway.
“We will inform the OSCE, the European Commission, all the negotiators with the European Union related to media issues, the EU Rapporteur for Serbia, and the Commissioner for Enlargement, European Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders,” Cosic added.
Serbian government ministers were the first to criticized reporting by N1.
Energy Minister, Aleksandar Antic condemned what he said was the scandalous reporting by N1. “That was absolutely not reporting, that was a call to join in the forceful entry to the RTS building with very disputable, incorrect and provocative information,” he told TV Pink.
Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic shared that view saying the aim was to get as many people there as possible. “They (N1) even called people to join in and that is the main problem. It was certainly not by chance, I never saw a live TV reporting about something that was not of vital political importance to the station,” he said.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the N1 reporting was hypocritical. “Those journalists are keeping quiet about (opposition leaders Dragan) Djilas, (Bosko) Obradovic and Vuk Jeremic entering the RTS with chainsaws. There were threats made, physical violence and they keep quiet and don’t react,” she told TV Prva.
Representatives of the Serbian journalist organizations like NUNS and UNS, Zeljko Bodrozic and Vladimir Radomirovic respectively, assessed that N1’s reporting on the night that demonstrators entered the RTS building was done professionally. However, both the representatives of the authorities and the RTS did not agree with that, although Cosic publicly condemned the entry of demonstrators into the premises of this public broadcaster.
The witch hunt on N1 continued on social networks, and in particular, on the Facebook page “Serbia our country” (“Srbija Nasa Zemlja”). One of their latest posts reads: “Belgrade is burning, buildings are being destroyed, the lives of citizens are in jeopardy, and, in such situation, television N1 and the cable broadcaster SBB will perish. Mr Šolak, citizens will defend their city and country.” Nobody has sanctioned this direct threat, because it has been posted on Facebook as a sponsored post.
This post is also available in: Italiano