Jugoslav Cosic, the N1 Belgrade News Director, told VICE website on Tuesday that N1 people were not scared despite pressures, adding he was convinced that the latest provocations were organised from the same centre as before and that they were just tests for more serious acts against the TV.
Last night, in the third such incidents, two men wearing surgical masks threw hundreds of leaflets into the backyard of the N1 Belgrade building reading 'The Republic of Serbia – Goodbye; N1 - Welcome to Luxembourg.'
Cosic said that the police were notified "and they showed up at N1 immediately. They investigated the case and made notes," adding the relations with New Belgrade police department were good.
"I think that it is important for them (the police) to do their job professionally. That was not the first time the police reacted to our calls," Cosic said.
He added that right now it was unknown who was behind those provocations, but that it was clear that they happened systematically and organised from the same centre.
"We make no compromise, and we have a strict editorial policy. The regime obviously cannot accept the critical reporting despite it directly controls the majority of the most powerful media. In real life, all that generates threats and danger for the safety of the independent media and their journalists. The timber always comes from the top. There are no exceptions,"
"They use the same material against N1 and have the same spin launched in the Parliament saying N1 doesn't work in line with the law and doesn't pay tax. Nothing is true, except that the Parliament became yet another platform for the showdown with N1 and the rest of the independent media," Cosic said.
And added: "I think these are just tests and that more serious acts against N1 are planned."
N1 does everything, Cosic says, protecting the integrity and safety of its employees – from the physical protection, contacts with the police and informing all relevant institutions at home and abroad.
Cosic said N1 was an unbiased and professional TV, and when there were no serious arguments, the attacks were based on lies and stigmatisation.
"The simplest method dating back in the '90s which these authorities haven't changed from the times of the Radicals (ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party), is to brand all independent media as anti-Serb. But I'm telling you that all pro-government media dealing with regime propaganda, are deeply anti-Serb. They work against Serbia's interests because that is not in the country's interest to serve as a tool in the authorities propaganda, to destroy all kinds of the regime's opponents, to confront the independent media, to destroy any idea of democracy and a normal social dialogue," Cosic said.
He adds the problem with N1 is the fact that it is a critical television which focuses on the interests of people, not political options.
"In that sense, we make no compromise, and we have a strict editorial policy. The regime obviously cannot accept the critical reporting despite it directly controls the majority of the most powerful media. In real life, all that generates threats and danger for the safety of the independent media and their journalists. The timber always comes from the top. There are no exceptions," Cosic said.
He added that despite the pressures, the atmosphere in N1 was great, and there was no fear.
"The N1 journalists and editors firmly believe in the professional principles and stick to them, extremely dedicated to their job. They are the best professional TV crew in Serbia. They are in solidarity not only among themselves but also with colleagues from other media who are under the same pressure. I don't believe that can change," Cosic told VICE.