Civil Rights Defenders warns of smear campaign against KRIK

NEWS 15.06.2020 20:02
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Source: Promo

The Civil Rights Defenders organization warned on Monday that a smear campaign is underway against the KRIK investigative news portal following its publication of a photograph of the Serbian president’s son in the company of alleged criminals.

KRIK reporter Bojana Pavlovic took a photograph of Danilo Vucic, the president’s son, sitting in a central Belgrade cafe with a man alleged to be part of an organized crime group. Her phone was grabbed from her hands and the police present at the scene did not react. “No investigations have been made by authorities; on the contrary, the President referred to the incident as “placing a target on his son’s forehead”, vowing to “defeat their lies” in an Instagram post,” The CRD said on its web site.  

It recalled that KRIK is part of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and that it “recently released an exposé proving links between Balkan criminal groups involved in sophisticated international drug trades with figures close to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), and indeed the son of President Vucic”.  

“The response has been relentless smearing of KRIK and OCCRP staff via state-controlled tabloids,” the organization said.  

Civil Rights Defenders Director for Europe, Goran Miletic, commented “such methods adopted by Serbia’s authorities to quash freedom of expression further degrade the status of human rights defenders in society, and dangerously threaten their safety and well-being. In these situations we must pull together and show solidarity with partners, until they receive the full respect and protection they deserve.”