TV host Ivan Ivanovic announced on his Twitter account last night that he and his family received threats from Simo Spasic, president of the Association of Families of Kidnapped, Murdered and Missing Persons from Kosovo and Metohija.
Ivanovic, who is the author and host of the TV Nova S show “Evening with Ivan Ivanovic”, posted on his Twitter account a screenshot of a text message sent to him by Simo Spasic. In the message Spasic threatens the host with breaking his spine, uses vulgar language, accuses him, Zoran Kesic and Olja Beckovic (also TV hosts) of destroying his life, and also threatens female members of Ivanovic’s family.
In February 2023, Simo Spasic was sentenced to six months in prison for the criminal offense of persecution, the victim of which was journalist Aleksandar Stankov of Juzne Vesti. “You need to be hanged, I regret that someone from your family wasn’t killed”, one of the most serious threats addressed to the journalist reads, qualified by prosecution as a criminal act of persecution.
Zeljko Bodrozic, the president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, warns that the recent statements of high government officials are once again creating a hostile environment for journalists and other citizens who speak and write critically about government policies. “Attacks and threats like the ones that our colleague Ivan Ivanović received are completely expected. In recent days, the president and the prime minister have created an atmosphere for brutal attacks on professional journalists and representative associations. They used to do the same before occasionally, which reflects on the citizens in a way that the understanding of individuals, such as Simo Spasic, is that they have the right to and that they are called by the state to deal with everyone targeted by Vucic and Ana Brnabic.”, Bodrozic concludes.
The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8.200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, strongly condemns threats to TV host Ivanovic and calls on state institutions to prosecute and punish Spasic promptly for the threats. We also call on the authorities to condemn this behavior towards media professionals and thus demonstrate that they protect the rights of all of them, instead of showing selective protection – only to those who are not critical of the authorities.
SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Tirana, 10.04.2023
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro