The Serbian Association of Journalists (UNS) said on Monday that the Ombudsman reported no progress in terms of freedom of speech in 2020.
The Ombudsman’s annual report was submitted to MPs in mid-March. It said that both the UNS and Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) recorded increasing numbers of attacks on journalists. “The UNS recorded 111 attacks on journalists which is 20 percent more than a year earlier while the NUNS recorded 189 attacks,” the report said adding that the overall number of attacks on journalists increased by 60 percent compared to 2019.
The Ombudsman’s 2020 report recalled the European Commission noted that the Serbian authorities adopted a national media strategy but added that it is not being implemented and that there is no visible progress in freedom of expression. “The position and status of journalists and media workers is even worse because of their bad financial status,” the report said.
It also noted that the Press Council received 163 complaints in 2020 and that eight high-circulation daily newspapers violated the journalists’ code 3,742 times, mainly in terms of truthful reporting and discrimination as well as presumption of innocence and protection of privacy.