Serbia: Journalist’s house burned down – swift investigation demanded

Photo: N1

The Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) on Wednesday called for an immediate investigation into the fire in the home of news portal journalist in a Belgrade suburb.

The UNS statement said the police and prosecution should immediately investigate the circumstances in which the home of Zig Info editor Milan Jovanovic burned down and determine whether the incident has anything to do with his work.

The Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) said in a press release that unidentified persons torched the Jovanovic home is the Grocka suburb and fired shots at his front door to prevent the family from leaving the house.

The house was set ablaze at around 03:00 am when a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a window, reports N1.

The house was completely burned down together with all Jovanovic’s furniture and his car. Jovanović, who sustained minor injuries, was immediately hospitalized, says OSCE in a press release.

Zig info editor Zeljko Matorcevic said that both he and Jovanovic had reported threats against them on several occasions but were never told whether an investigation had been launched. Matorcevic told the Beta news agency that portal journalists had threats made against them earlier after filing reports on what the local authorities were doing to bring natural gas to the suburb and added that he had been beaten up in October, reports N1.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, condemned the attack.

“I strongly condemn this terrible act, and urge the law enforcement agencies to swiftly investigate it,” said Désir, “It is important that Jovanović and his family are protected and that the investigation will swiftly and thoroughly uncover the real motives behind this attack.”

The Representative recalled that this is not an isolated incident involving journalists from Žig info. In October, Željko Matorčević, the editor-in-chief of the news portal, was the victim of a physical attack.

Désir stressed the important role of the Permanent Working Group for Safety of Journalists in Serbia, in following up on these cases.