United Group said on Thursday that state officials and tabloids were waging a negative campaign against it and its media outlets, helping create an atmosphere in which anyone can try to break into its offices and threaten its staff.
“The daily negative campaign being waged by state officials and tabloids through lies about United Group and its business and about the N1 and Nova S media outlets that are part of it has contributed to creating an atmosphere in which anyone can try to break into its offices, threaten United Group employees and N1 and Nova S journalist without having to suffer any consequences under the law which just encourages new forms of attack and intimidation,” United Group said in a statement.
“Yesterday’s violent attempt to enter the United Group building by a person falsely presenting himself as a member of the military security agency who threatened staff and assaulted security guards is the direct result of the negative campaign against free media which are designated “anti-Serb media, traitors and foreign mercenaries” with the constant assessing of their reporting as anti-state” in the Serbian Parliament by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).
It added that the incident which included threats and violent behavior poses danger to all employees.
“We are calling the competent state bodies to react and sanction attacker Bogoljub Pjescic because this attempt at physically breaking into the building is a part of a continuing attempt to intimidate all United Group employees. This is a person who has threatened N1 Program Director Jugoslav Cosic and the recently deceased Beta news agency editor in chief Dragan Janjic but who has, despite that, been promoted by media such as B92 TV. He was allowed to appear on that station to attack United Group even though this is a person who falsely introduced himself as Donald Trump’s associate and as a Breitbart journalist both of which were condemned by the US Embassy and journalists’ associations,” the statement said.
United Group is calling state bodies to enable all of its employees to do their jobs freely with no threat of violence and is calling state officials to stop their open and covert attacks on N1 and Nova S and openly condemn all forms of pressure, attacks and threats unconditionally and without playing them down because that is the only way to improve the environment to secure freedom of expression which is something that the European Union insists on.
N1 is part of United Group.