Brutal assaults at the media in Vojvodina
The Human Rights House strongly condemns the smear campaign two pro-governmental media outlets, Informer and Pink, have been staging against the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina and its president, Dinko Gruhonjic. The methods used against Gruhonjic have all the elements of fascism and racism: his ethnic origin is being questioned, while he is being called by a name the Nazi site Stormfront fabricated and “branded” several years ago. The Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina is one of few niches of free and critical thought in Serbia, as well as an institution renown for its struggle against extremism, hatred and intolerance.
In parallel, Minister of the Interior Nebojsa Stepanovic brutally assaulted Vojvodina’s public broadcasting service – Radio-Television of Vojvodina /RTV/. All this is obviously an attempt at censorship: remnants of media freedoms and critical thoughts are being choked by the use of threats, insults and lynch calls. Such aggressive assaults at independent and professional media and journalists indicate that the upcoming elections stand no chance of being fair and democratic. We remind that Slobodan Milosevic had also embarked on his nationalistic policy and authoritarian regime by clamping down on the media and journalists in Vojvodina, the province that first fell victim of his belligerency.
We also appeal to the officials of democratic countries – who often praise Serbia’s movement towards EU – to pay attention not only to formal characteristics of the society the incumbent regime and the media loyal to it have been promoting, but to the substantial ones.