Employees of the N1 television station in Serbia have received a letter containing death threats against them and their families due to their coverage of Kosovo and anti-government protests in Serbia, according to the news channel.
In the letter, which was shown on N1 news and has been reported to the police, the sender threatens to blow up H1’s office building.
“Do you have families.. you’re killing our children and grandchildren, and are unaware that if the destruction happens, your building will be the first to be blown up, and you may lose your dearest. That’s why we, the veterans, warn you not to play with anyone’s destiny because your fate is in our hands,” said the letter.
It was signed by the “Belgarde Veterans of 1990s wars”; however, Zeljko Vukelic President of the Union of War Veterans was quick to dissociate his organisation from the threat.
“I have no idea about it. It may be planted. What I can say is that I watch N1 since it is the most impartial TV in this biased media space,“ Vukelic said.
According to N1, the station’s reporters are “routinely targeted on social media and accused of “spreading anti-Serbia propaganda,” with critics branding them as “servants of globalism, Soros, and the Clinton criminal gang,”
N1 reports that just days prior to the bomb threat, Milenko Jovanov, deputy leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, headed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, accused the channel of bias against the government and of recognising Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
The station points out, however, that in its coverage it refers to Kosovo in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1244, “which remained neutral regarding the status of Kosovo.”
This means that when it displays maps of Serbia and Kosovo they are shown in the same colour, “with a dotted line representing the demarcation between the two, as opposed to a solid line separating sovereign states.”
The threat against the station has been condemned by political parties and the Association of Journalists of Serbia, who said in a statement that those responsible “must be punished accordingly.”
A recent report by the Washington-based rights group Freedom House downgraded Serbia from “free” to partially “free” on a scale of basic freedoms.
Compared with last year, Serbia fell by six points in terms of political rights and civil liberties, one of the steepest falls in rankings recorded in the last twelve months.
Freedom House cited “election irregularities, legal harassment and smear campaigns against independent journalists,” among the reasons for the downgrade.