THREATS, INSULTS AND MEDIA LYNCH:The suppression of freedom of speech in Vučić's Serbia

Žurnal in English

THREATS, INSULTS AND MEDIA LYNCH: The suppression of freedom of speech in Vučić's Serbia

Everyone uses means that are at their disposal: some with the judge's gavel, some with a lawsuit, some by drawing a target in a tabloid, and some with open announcements of mass slaughter. And they are all joined in a joint criminal enterprise against freedom of speech and opinion, against truth and facts, against human personality. Which is quite logical - the totalitarian mind unmistakably recognizes who its mortal enemies are.

The suppression of freedom of speech in Vučić's Serbia
Serbian tabloids

The editors of the daily "Danas" received a long email in which journalists, columnists and editors are threatened with murder. An e-mail with the telling title "Beogradski Šarli Ebdo" arrived at the address of the editor-in-chief, Dragoljub Petrović. The anonymous writer of the letter says that he felt the need to inform the editor that the editorial office is in "mortal danger from certain extreme right-wing structures that live from the shadows".

Elementary illiteracy and a severe quarrel with the mother tongue indicate that the sender is an anonymous Serbian patriot, since in our country patriotism has long been inversely proportional to knowledge of the Serbian language. It is impossible to "live from the shadows", you can only live in the shadows, but this is obviously not known to the self-proclaimed protector of Serbia, who is ready to kill, but not to make a small effort and learn the basic grammatical rules of his own language.


Cull list


The anonymous delinquent is dissatisfied with the newspaper's editorial policy, especially with the reporting on the latest artificial escalation of tensions around Kosovo, he does not like the way "Danas", N1 and Nova S report on it, it seems to him that the editorial offices of the mentioned media sided with the "Albanian separatist", which is reason enough for mass slaughter. That's why the illiterate anonymous predicts that volleys of bullets will break windows and ricochet over journalists' heads, that bullets will pass through their skulls and send them "into limbo", and that when they least expect it.

The writer of the epistle has supernatural abilities, so it appears to him what will happen to the murderers: they will never come to justice, "because and they will not survive by judging themselves or perishing in the exchange of fire with law enforcement". It should be “because neither will they survive”, but let's not get carried away, when a man is bloodthirsty, anonymous and clairvoyant, it happens that some mistake slips away from him.

The unknown author also compiled a list for culling. At the top of the list is the journalist and columnist Snežana Čongradin, followed by "Teofil Pančić, Aleksej Kišjuhas, Nikola Samardžić, Nenad Kulačin, Marko Vidojković and other columnists who do not write for 'Danas', such as Dragan Bursać, and radio host Daško Milinović, who are your like-minded people worth mentioning". Anonymous is annoyed by many things he has read in the texts of the mentioned authors, and even by some that the respective authors never wrote, for example, calling Serbs a "genocide nation". That term is not used by critics of nationalism, those who write about war crimes, but only by the party to which the writer of the threatening letter belongs, but who cares about facts when it comes to killing domestic traitors.


A new generation of Serbian nationalists


The author also stated who will be the perpetrators of the future massacre. These are not mainstream right-wingers under the control of the Serbian Progressive Party, nor well-known groups like the National Patrols, but right-wing communities that "are not connected to any right-wing organization from Serbia and Europe, which makes them invisible to law enforcement and intelligence agencies."

The unknown hero described the respective young gentlemen in a little more detail, once again talking about the shadow and the living: "From the shadow lives a new generation of Serbian nationalists who are incorruptible, uncorrupted and above all - honourable". And there is no more honourable procedure than breaking into the editorial office of a newspaper whose editorial policy you disagree with and shooting at everything that moves, especially journalists. Perhaps it is more honourable just to kill old men, women, and children, stuff their corpses into cold storage and bury them in mass graves, as famous Serbian heroes did when the new generation of Serbian nationalists was in its infancy.

The anonymous patriot was particularly annoyed by the phrase "Orthodox Taliban", which was used to describe the participants of the litany, so he would have prepared a terrorist attack on the journalists, following the example of the Islamic fundamentalists who killed ten journalists of the "Šarli Ebdo" newspaper in January 2015. This is already a classic projection that is constantly repeated in the threats of self-proclaimed patriots. Are you telling us that we are murderers and that we worship war criminals? Now we are going to kill you to show you that we are not murderers. When a human being is so educationally neglected, at odds with logic, intelligence and mother tongue, what else is left for him but violence?


Tabloid warrant


The threatening email was sent on Sunday morning, and on the same day, the tabloid "Alo" published a text in the form of a warrant for Nikola Samardžić, professor of history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. The reason for the lynching was Samardžić's tweet, which reads: "Kurti, who are increasingly popular in Serbia outside of Kosovo, is not because of the nation, he believes in his mission, while Brnabić keeps a pomegranate and a passport in his left pocket." This served the anonymous tabloid shooter to target Samardžić, and the shooter's text is full of standard defamations such as "the protégé of Montenegrin dictator Milo Đukanović", "supports Shqiptars", "known for his anti-Serb views", "shameful tweet", "works against the Serbian people, to whom he himself belongs, to his regret".

There are no open threats in the text as in the anonymous letter, but it is clear what the anonymous quasi-journalist is aiming at and how traitors should be dealt with. It is also clear that the author of the threatening email and the tabloid mind share the same chauvinistic, totalitarian worldview that does not tolerate any freedom of thought and speech, is not interested in the truth, and recognizes only the authority of the bat and the Kalashnikov. Also, both belong to the same artistic direction known as illiteracy.


Quoting prohibited


A few days earlier, on Friday, November 4, the research portal KRIK was convicted by the lawsuit of the former director of the Security and Information Agency Bratislava Gašić, for reporting on the trial of the criminal group Zoran Jotić Jotka. Judge Nataša Petričević Milisavljević condemned KRIK, because they transmitted a quote from a wiretapped conversation of members of the criminal group, in which it is said that Gašić is "in the cauldron" at Jotić's. KRIK journalists hurt the honour and reputation of Gašić by stating verbatim what was said in the courtroom. The judge did not allow the audio recordings of the wiretapped phone conversations that were played at the trial of Jotić and the transcript from the trial to be included in the evidence.

So, from now on, it is forbidden to publish quotes that speak unfavourably about members of the ruling caste. In the meantime, Bratislav Gašić became the Minister of Police, so in the future, we can expect even closer cooperation between the prosecuting authorities and the judiciary in suppressing freedom of speech. And those journalists have gone completely mad, they quote everything in order, instead of carefully sifting through and publishing only praises, panegyrics and odes to the progressive bully, as the henchmen from the media loyal to Aleksandar Vučić do.


Persecution of dissidents


A few days earlier, columnist Dragan Bursać received open threats from a certain person who signed himself as Nikola Petković. The person in question would talk a little about Bursać's head, telling him that they are waiting for him, he did not specify who makes up the said majority, and he does not pay attention to the fact that the columnist duly reported the threats to the police. By all accounts, he is a citizen of the late Republic of Serbia, so it is quite logical that he is not afraid of the competent authorities. What would a man be afraid of the police for, when its leader is Bratislav Gašić, a hardened fighter against free and independent journalism? And the courts also reported in the same discipline, as we saw in the case of the KRIK portal.

All the mentioned events took place for about five days, from November 2 to 6. With threats to journalists and persecution of dissidents, the suppression of freedom of speech has literally become our everyday life. The above series is not even comprehensive, who would count all the attacks of the ruling caste on journalists and free-thinking people in the Parliament, in television appearances, on official accounts of SNS, at press conferences and on similar occasions? Not to mention the mass terror of riotous totalitarians on social networks, it would take a small army of people to list it.


Targeting the ineligible and recalcitrant


Ever since he took absolute power in Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić has been waging an angry fight against the free media, dissenting opinions, critical intellectuals, and anyone who would rather think for himself than for the president. He reported himself in this persecutory work as Milošević's minister of information in the late nineties, so now he just continued where he left off, abusing all state resources at his disposal. By persistently defaming and targeting the unfit and disobedient, Vučić and his minions created a social atmosphere in which threats to journalists are a completely normal and common phenomenon, part of folklore, so to speak.

Thus, we have reached the point where it is completely natural for the minister of police, judicial authorities, tabloid employees and various free shooters inclined to slaughter daring individuals who do not sing in the common criminal choir to find themselves on the same task. Everyone uses the means at their disposal: some with the judge's gavel, some with a lawsuit, some by drawing a target in a tabloid, and some with open announcements of mass slaughter. And they are all joined in a joint criminal enterprise against freedom of speech and opinion, against truth and facts, against human personality. Which is quite logical - the totalitarian mind unmistakably recognizes who its mortal enemies are.