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Serbia-Montenegro9 September 2005

Death threats made against the editor of an independent media group

Veran Matic, editor of the media group B 92, has been sent a letter containing death threats against him, members of his family and associates.  He received the letter, signed by „the Serbian Liberation Regiment‰ on 5 September 2005. A similar letter was sent to a member of the student movement, Otpor, Momcilo Veljkovic on 3 September. Matic immediately lodged a complaint with the prosecutor‚s office in Belgrade.

Serbian Investment Minister Velimir Ilic and his press adviser Petar Lazovic, publicly issued death threats against Matic at a Belgrade press conference on 15 August this year.

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Dismay at minister’s insults and threats against journalists

18 August 2005

Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today at the insulting comments which Serbian investment minister Velimir Ilic made to journalists working for the independent media group RTV B92 at a press conference on 15 August. Ilic has a history of such behaviour.

"We are appalled at the way the minister and his aide insulted and threatened journalists in public," the press freedom organisation said. "If politicians react like this to questions they do not want to answer, it shows how fragile press freedom is in Serbia-Montenegro."

B92 reporter Ana Veljkovic asked Ilic about his role in the decision to drop charges against Marko Milosevic - the son of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic - who was accused of kidnapping and beating Zoran Milovanovic, a member of an anti-Milosevic youth group, in 2000.

Instead of answering the question, Ilic and his press adviser, Petar Lazovic, responded with a torrent of abusive and sexist remarks about Veljkovic. They then turned on all of RTV B92’s journalists, insulting and slandering them and even making death threats. They were especially scathing about the group’s managing director and editor in chief, Veran Matic.

Created in 1989, Radio and Television B92 is one of Serbia’s leading independent media groups.

Ilic has insulted journalists in the past, often using obscene remarks. On 1 June 2003, when he was mayor of the central city of Cacak, he attacked journalist Vladimir Jesic during an interview broadcast by TV Apolo. Although the TV station filed a complaint, Ilic was not charged. Before that, in 2001, he was accused by breaking the windows of radio Ozone in Cacak.

Matic has filed a complaint against Lazovic, Ilic’s press adviser, accusing him of making death threats.

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