Fight against impunity continues
With the political promises of previous years left unrealised, Serbia is a country with weak institutions that is prey to fake news spread by government-backed sensational media, a country where journalists are subjected to almost daily attacks that increasingly come from the ruling elite and pro-government media. The government used the coronavirus crisis to pass draconian legislation – later repealed – under which journalist Ana Lalić was held overnight in a cell in April 2020 after being arrested at her home for a report about a local hospital. During anti-government demonstrations, journalists were the victims of violence by both protesters and police, who made arbitrary arrests. In many cases, the authorities were quick to identify those responsible for crimes of violence against journalists, but were much less likely to conduct successful prosecutions. The conviction of four people for the 1999 murder of the journalist Slavko Curuvija was overturned by an appeal court in 2020, requiring a retrial. But early 2021 saw significant progress in the fight against impunity when the instigator and two perpetrators of the 2018 arson attack on journalist Milan Jovanović’s home were sentenced to four years in prison. Serbia’s most famous whistleblower, Aleksandar Obradović, continues to be the subject of a prosecution despite the lack of evidence against him. Independent media outlets, many of them local ones, continue to cover dangerous subjects such as political corruption and organised crime despite being weakened by the coronavirus crisis and omitted from the distribution state funding, which went to pro-government media.
90 in 2019
31.18 in 2019