IJAV: State of emergency cannot be an excuse for arresting journalists

We believe that the main message of such moves by the authorities in Serbia is to intimidate the public

02. Apr 2020

The Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (IJAV) would like to draw public attention to a new wave of hard pressures on media in Serbia, which is happening under the pretext of the state of emergency introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the arrest of journalist and IJAV Board member Ana Lalić, reporters in Serbia are facing a new ordeal because the state has begun to characterize their work and reporting as “crime” and “panic-raising”.

Given this serious threat to the freedom of information in the state of emergency, we believe that it is now more than necessary for the associations, NGOs and the international community to vigilantly monitor the exercise of citizens’ rights in Serbia and to defend the freedom of information.

We also urge citizens not to allow the authorities to abolish their right to professional and truthful information because that is the only way they can make quality and right decisions for their safety.

The state of emergency can by no means be a tool for the destruction of human rights, and journalists must be allowed to work freely in accordance with the principles of the Serbian Code of Journalists.

We believe that the main message of such moves by the authorities in Serbia is to intimidate the public, as well as the journalists themselves, who carry out their work in the interest of the public.

We urge state institutions to act responsibly and to respect both the Serbian Constitution and international acts for the protection of the rights of media workers in times of crisis.

Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina
Novi Sad, April 2, 2020