The press and media associations and organizations strongly condemn the act of the Head of the parliamentary group of Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) in the Assembly of Serbia Aleksandar Martinovic, who has, today, publicly presented photos of many citizens who took part in street protests, including journalists Nedim Sejdinovic and Dinko Gruhonjic and journalist Antonela Riha, and Luka Visnjic, son of the journalist Olja Bećković.
Attempting to show our fellow colleagues and citizens as part of some conspiracy, which allegedly was behind the protests, threatening to violently overthrow the constitutional order as the pro-government media reports, Martinovic literally draw targets on the foreheads.
We recall that these journalists, as well as many public figures and activists who also took part in the protests, has repeatedly been the target of similar attacks in the tabloids, after which some of them have received death threats.
We consider this act of Martinovic much more dangerous because it comes from the Head of the parliamentary group of the ruling party and was made in the National Assembly, an institution which is essential for democracy and rule of law in Serbia, and later that night in the central program named „Questionnaire” („Upitnik“) of the Public Service of Serbia he has done the same.
With trepidation we conclude that the attack came exactly on the 18th anniversary of the murder of the journalist Slavko Curuvija. The parallels that can be drawn between the nineties and the times in which we live are numerous and gruesome. Therefore, we demand from the MPs of the National Assembly, particularly those from the SPP, to immediately and unequivocally condemn and harshly sanctione this attack of Martinovic, and we demand from the Prosecution to immediately determine whether this act has elements of the crime.
At the same time we urge the public to join us in defending the rights of all citizens to openly express their disagreement with anything, especially with the extremely anti-democratic actions of the governing structure, without fear that their presence at the protests will be recorded and photographed by the secret service, and later publicly denounced by MPs. This right is not only inalienable, but also a basic achievement of a free democratic society.
(Belgrade-Novi Sad-Niš-Kragujevac, April 12th 2017.)