Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Serbia

In recent weeks several blogs, websites and Internet portals were mysteriously deleted or temporarily shutdown in Serbia after they had criticised the government and called for Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić to resign.

Civil Rights Defenders has signed a petition entitled “In the face of censorship”, an initiative created in Serbia protesting against media censorship and signed by hundreds of bloggers, media outlets and civil society groups. Much of the criticism is targeted against the Serbian authorities from what many perceive as their slow response following the catastrophic floods that recently hit the country.

“The Government has an obligation to protect freedom of speech. Serbia is a member state of the Council of Europe since 2003 and a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Government must uphold its obligations. Nothing more, nothing less.“ says Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders”

In a recent development Pescanik Internet Portal one of Civil Rights Defenders close partners in Serbia was hacked just hours after one of the authors published an article claiming that the Minister of the Interior had plagiarised his PhD. Pescanik is known regionally as an online space in which activists and intellectuals can discuss important issues tackling affecting the Western Balkans.

Civil Rights Defenders strongly condemns these attacks on media and calls on the Serbian government to ensure that freedom of speech is fully guaranteed.

You can read more about the initiative in Serbia “In the Face of Censorship” by clicking here.