Milan Jovanovic’s home in a Belgrade suburb was badly damaged by a fire on 12 December that was started by Molotov cocktails. He and his wife were home at the time but escaped unhurt by getting out through a back window.
At a press conference yesterday, Jovanovic said he was convinced that the attack was linked to his investigative reporting. He covers corruption, including corruption involving local politicians, for the ZIG info news portal.
He pointed that the attack was not isolated, referring to a physical assault on ZIG info editor Zeljko Matorcevic on 9 October, to which there has been no response from the authorities.
“The attack on the investigative reporter Milan Jovanovic is one of the gravest in Serbia in recent years and the Serb authorities have a duty to condemn this terrible act and to bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union-Balkans desk. “Several threats targeting journalists at the same media outlet had already been reported to the police, who until now have not felt the need to open an investigation. By ignoring these threats against journalists, the Serb authorities are fueling a dangerous climate for the media and could be held responsible if a journalist were murdered.”
The press freedom situation and climate for journalists have been worsening steadily in Serbia, which fell ten places in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked 76th out of 180 countries.