SERBIA: SEEMO urges Defence Minister to apologize for statements

SERBIA, SERBIA, 21/09/2017, 10:50

Vienna, 21 September 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) disapproves of the behavior and statements of the Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin against the investigative network KRIK (Crime and Corruption Reporting Network) and its editor-in-chief Stevan Dojcinovic   (Stevan Dojčinović).

KRIK recently published an investigative story about the origin of money used by Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin to buy property in Belgrade. After publication, the Minister and leader of the Socialist Movement (Pokret Socijalista) lashed out against the network and Dojcinovic in several statements.

The published story dealt with Vulin purchasing an apartment in Belgrade under suspicious circumstances; Vulin claimed that he “borrowed” 205.000 EUR from his wife’s aunt from Canada. Following this, the Defence Minister verbally attacked Dojcinovic, claiming he was “a drug addict who needs to be tested for drugs. This statement was later removed from the Socialist Movement website. ” (more on https://www.krik.rs/vulin-dojcinovic-je-narkoman-mrzi-srbiju/, http://pokretsocijalista.rs/news/?id=2651 and http://pokretsocijalista.rs/news/?id=2649).

“We deplore the behavior Defence Minister Vulin has shown in the media in recent days” Oliver Vujovic SEEMO Secretary General said today. “We call on him to not only apologize to both the KRIK network and Stevan Dojcinovic for his hate speech and vile accusations, but also to reveal the truth about the investigative story that sent him on this vindictive tirade. We ask also the Serbian government and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic (Ana Brnabić) to react and investigate this case".

Transparency in political circles in Serbia is rare and for a high political representative of the country to behave in such a manner, attempting to discredit journalists and censor their outlets, is truly undemocratic and unacceptable” Vujovic added.

SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.

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