Serbian unions demand: end impunity for those who kill journalists

by Renata Rat

Serbia is a case study in impunity for crimes against journalists. During her speech at an international conference in the capital Belgrade, ECPMF board member Ljiljana Smajlovic expressed the hope that the verdict on the killers of journalist Slavko Curuvija marks a turning point, finally breaking this vicious pattern.

Smajlovic told the audience, gathered in Belgrade for the International Conference on Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists:

I hope that the verdict for Curuvija’s murder brings an end to the era of impunity for crimes against journalists in Serbia.

RTS bombing RTS after bombing by NATO in 1999. By Goldfinger at Serbian Wikipedia - Transferred from sr.wikipedia to Commons by BokicaK using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, Link

The conference took place on 22. and 23. April. It was organised by the Serbian Journalists’ Association (UNS) and the Serbian public broadcaster Radio Televizija Srbija (RTS).

Its purpose was to commemorate the NATO bombs that targeted the RTS building on 23. April 1999. The attacks claimed the lives of a number of media workers.

The bombing was condemned by most of the conference speakers. 

Amongst the speakers were Smajlovic; Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic; Vladimir Radomirovic, UNS-president, ECPMF member and founder of the Serbian investigative platform Pistaljka; and Jeremy Scahill, founding editor of The Intercept.

Sixteen RTS journalists and employees were killed in the 1999 bombing of the TV station in Serbia, where impunity was also a theme. Since 1999, four journalists have been murdered in the country, and only one of these four cases has been resolved - that of Curuvija.

Serbia ranks 90 out of 180 countries in RSF's World Press Freedom Index 2019, having gone down 14 spots since the previous year's ranking.