The Independent Society of (Serbia’s northern province) Vojvodina Journalists (NDNV) said on Wednesday that their three young associates, the authors of the “Albanians Are Our Sisters” (Albanke su nase sestre) documentary received threats, including against their lives, the Beta news agency reported.
The three girls were first attacked on the istraga.rs website and on its Facebook page described as “Journalists who embarrassed Serbia.”
The post was followed by comments, including open death threats like “Shoot the whores.”
The journalists made the NDNV documentary in cooperation with BIRN Kosovo and the German ZDF Forum in 2017, but the most recent threats were not the only ones that NDNV and their partners had received because of the film.
NDNV said the screening of the documentary in the central town of Kraljevo was cancelled after the organisers were threatened. In Novi Sad, Vojvodina’s capital, the extreme rightists tried to interrupt the screening and in the southern city of Nis the threats culminated when the film crew was exposed to “direct verbal death threats” by some ultra-nationalist who was “finally on trial.”
“We demand that the persecution of our colleagues stops. State institutions send us a clear message they are accomplices to these threats by doing nothing,” NDNV statement said.
NDNV also asked, “how is it possible that they (the institutions) cannot find the culprits when they often sign the threats with full names?”
The statement added that “in some other cases when high-ranked state and (ruling) party officials are targeted, the institutions find the responsible people in no time, even when they use aliases on social networks.”
“Those double standards additionally convince us that the respective institutions are also involved in a showdown with the regime’s critics,” NDNV said.
It added that the latest attacks on NDNV journalists were “a clear attempt to divert the public attention from the essential issue that is destroying the society – the individual responsibility for war crimes.”
“As long as that isn’t solved, Serbia doesn’t have any future. But, NDNV will continue to insist on the criminal responsibility of those who committed crimes, whoever they may be. On the other hand, we have no illusion that the current authorities will do anything to process the war criminals, since they openly supported and were the accomplices to the policy of (late Serbia’s President Slobodan) Milosevic’s criminal regime,” NDNV statement said.
It added the Society would inform all relevant international institutions about the threats, but also about “inefficiency of the state institutions in reacting to the NDNV notifications about the attacks, and the impunity of those who attack professional journalists in Serbia.“