The harassment of a KRIK journalist who took a picture of President Aleksandar Vucic’s son Danilo in the company of an alleged underworld figure drew criticism of the investigative journalism portal from top state officials.
KRIK reporter Bojana Pavlovic took a picture of Danilo Vucic with Aleksandar Vidojevic, a member of the FC Partizan supporter group Janjicari and alleged member of the Kavacki clan organized crime group, watching the Red Star-Partizan football match in a central Belgrade cafe. The phone she used to take the picture was grabbed from her hands by an unidentified man and was returned only after Vidojevic intervened. Police officers at the scene did not react.
President Vucic posted a picture of himself and Danilo on his Instagram account with a caption saying that his son was being targetted. “My son Danilo is an honest and decent young man. He is only guilty of being my son. Before them, the irresponsible and impolite, no one ever drew targets on the freheads of the children of politicians. By attacking my child they have pushed me into a corner which I have no way out of. I will fight with all my power and beat all their lies. I promise them that,” the elder Vucic wrote.
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Moj sin Danilo je pošten i pristojan mladić. Kriv je samo zato što je moj sin. Do njih, neodgovornih i nepristojnih, nikada niko nije deci političara crtao metu na čelu. Napadajući mi dete, doveli su me u ugao iz kojeg više nemam gde. Boriću se svom snagom i pobediću sve njihove laži. Obećavam im to!
President Vucic told reporters at the opening of a food factors in Pozega that he is offended by the mentioning of children in the media. Commenting the publication of the picture of his son Danilo in the company of alleged criminals, Vucic said he was hurt by it. “I am just an ordinary dad … and of course it hurts,” he said.
His reaction was echoed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic who condemned what she claimed was “an assault on the son of President Aleksandar Vucic, Danilo”. “Placing a target on a 22 year old young man is, in your world, a legitimate political battle. Put him up on Twitter, get the investigative tabloids to photograph him watching a game, link him to the Mafia just so you can strike at his father. You are the mud that you claim to fighting against,” she wrote in a Twitter post.
Stavljanje mete na mladića od 22 godine je, u vašem svetu, legitimna politička borba. Razvucite ga po twt, upregnite istraživačke tabloide da ga fotografišu dok gleda utakmicu, povežite sa mafijom, samo da bi udarili po njegovom ocu. Vi ste blato protiv koga kažete da se borite.https://t.co/jJTatc8go8— Ana Brnabic (@anabrnabic)June 11, 2020
The Serbian Finance Minister followed suit saying that the release of the photograph is “a shameless and brazen attempt to destroy a family” while Vojvodina Provincial government chief Igor Mirovic accused opposition leader Dragan Djilas of being behind what he called “an unscrupulous campaign of lies and hatred”.
The Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, a deputy leader of Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), did not comment the case as he usually does.