Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Serbia and Montenegro

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 2006
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Serbia and Montenegro, February 2006, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In March, posters and graffiti appeared in downtown Belgrade calling for a boycott of the Belgrade-based radio and television station B92. The posters – which included the B92 logo inside the Star of David and proclaimed "Serbia for Serbs" – criticized the station's "anti-Serb influence," along with its "dangerous influence on Serbian youth" and its alleged support of drug use and "other Western sicknesses."

Investment Minister Velimir Ilic and his press secretary, Petar Lazarevic, threatened B92 journalist Ana Veljkovic at an August press conference. The reporter had asked why Ilic had taken steps to quash a criminal case against the son of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Lazarevic said he would "kill" B92's top editor, Veran Matic. Ilic told Veljkovic she was "sick" and "in need of psychiatric help" and he warned her not to get "in our way."

About 600 journalists and supporters of the political opposition held a rally in the capital, Podgorica, on May 27, marking the first anniversary of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic, owner and editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Dan. Jovanovic was killed in a drive-by shooting outside the Dan office. One suspect went to trial, and Serbian authorities handed over a second suspect to Montenegrin authorities in May. Jovanovic's colleagues and lawyers have criticized police and prosecutors for the slow pace of the inquiry.

On June 11, an anonymous death threat was made against Grujica Spasovic, editor-in-chief of the Belgrade daily Danas. The day before, Danas had reported that the Serbian government had identified the town where indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic was hiding. A man characterizing himself as "personal security of General Ratko Mladic from Republika Srpska" called the Danas newsroom and said: "Pass [Spasovic] the message: From today on, he is dead. We will kill him, cut off his head, legs, and arms, for what he wrote [and] published about General Mladic." The police waited a week before meeting with Spasovic to discuss the threat.

Bardhyl Ajeti, a 28-year-old reporter for the Albanian-language daily Bota Sot, died in a Milan hospital on June 25, three weeks after being shot in Kosovo and evacuated to a hospital in Italy, Agence France-Presse reported. Unidentified assailants shot the journalist from a passing car on June 3. Ajeti had written editorials criticizing opposition politicians.

Killed in 2005 in Serbia & Montenegro

Bardhyl Ajeti, Bota Sot, June 25, outside Pristina

Ajeti, 28, a reporter for the Albanian-language daily Bota Sot, died in an Italian hospital on June 25, three weeks after being shot in Kosovo, Agence France-Presse reported.

Ajeti was driving from Kosovo's capital, Pristina, to the eastern Kosovo town of Gnjilane on June 3 when at least one attacker shot at him from a passing car, according to the Kosova Journalists Association, a local union. Ajeti fell into a coma after being shot and was evacuated to a hospital in Milan where he died, AFP reported.

Police spokesman Refki Morina said that Ajeti was shot in the head at close range but did not disclose any possible motives, according to The Associated Press.

Baton Haxhiu, president of the Kosova Journalists Association, told CPJ that Ajeti wrote daily editorials for Bota Sot, which is allied with the governing Democratic League of Kosovo party. He often criticized opposition party figures in his editorials, Haxhiu told CPJ.

The Temporary Media Commissioner, Kosovo's internationally supervised media regulator, said in a June 6 statement that Ajeti filed a complaint with the office on May 17 saying that his life had been threatened.

In summer 2002, Bota Sot and Ajeti supported international authorities who arrested former members of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) as part of a broader anticrime campaign, according to the London-based Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Ajeti later criticized nationalist Albanian protestors for demanding that international forces release the arrested members of the KLA.

Several journalists from Kosovo told CPJ that Ajeti was in the process of leaving Bota Sot to establish a rival newspaper.

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