Last year Serbia recorded slight improvement in human rights protection, while the journalists remained unsecured and human rights activists were regularly exposed to online threats, the Human Right Watch (HRW) said, as carried by the Beta news agency.
It added that in the period from January to August last year, the Independent Association of Serbia’s Journalists (NUNS) recorded 50 cases of violence, threats or intimidation of media people, including four physical attacks and 18 cases of state officials’ threatening reporters.
The organisation’s annually report said the journalists were still under attacks, threats and lawsuits for reporting on sensitive issues.
“The attacks and threats to journalists continue followed by an inappropriate reaction by Serbia’s authorities. Pro-government media are still slandering independent media outlets and journalists,” the report said.
In the part of the report dealing with Kosovo HRW said journalists faced threats and intimidation too, while criminal proceedings regarding crimes against them were slow.
The report also mentioned that what it called “a controversial plan on border changes between Kosovo and Serbia” caused concern about consequences that population transfer might have on human rights.
HRW also said that human rights activists in Serbia worked in a hostile environment and under threats followed by slow investigations.
In the part of the report dealing with the persecution of war crimes, the report said the trials before local judiciary went on slowly since Serbia still had a lack of political will for the issue.
“The persecution of war crimes is still lagging due to the absence of political will and adequate resources, as well as due to weak instruments for witnesses' support.
"A very few high-ranking officials involved in serious war wrongdoing were on trial before local courts,” the report added.
HRW said that conditions concerning migrants, asylum seekers and long-time displaced people had not improved significantly.