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Over 1,000 cases of limitation to press freedom recorded in Europe in 2017

Author Maja Garaca
Over 1,000 cases of limitation to press freedom recorded in Europe in 2017 Index on Censorship/ All RIghts Reserved

ZAGREB (Croatia), March 28 (SeeNews) - There were 1,089 verified reports of limitations to press freedom in Europe in 2017, with a majority of violations coming from official or governmental bodies, according to the Index on Censorship's Mapping Media Freedom platform.

Six journalists were killed as a result of their reporting in 2017, 175 incidents of physical assaults and injuries were confirmed, while 216 journalists were arrested or detained, according to the Mapping Media Freedom 2017 report of Index on Censorship, a nonprofit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide.

There were 192 cases of criminal charges or civil litigation reported to Mapping Media Freedom 2017, 112 legal measures were taken against journalists and 275 incidents of intimidation reported.

The platform – a joint undertaking with the European Federation of Journalists partially funded by the European Commission – monitors the media environment in 42 countries, including all EU member states, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Turkey, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

There were 36 verified threats to journalists in Croatia in 2017, and 16 in Serbia.

In Croatia, on October 10, Drago Miljus, a Croatian journalist for the news website, was pushed by a police officer, who then took his mobile phone and threw it into the sea.  Another officer hit the journalist on the head, knocking him to the ground, according to the annual report.

In Serbia, on September 11, journalists for the news portal Maglocistac were told in a letter they would be “slaughtered like rabbits”. The comment was left by anonymous individuals below an article published on September 4 on threats the mayor of Subotica made to one of his party colleagues.

Serbia was also home to far-right's attempts to intimidate media workers. Namely, journalist Marija Antic, a television host for the broadcaster N1, received death and rape threats on social media after interviewing a French-Serbian far-right activist. The threats began after Antic invited Arnaud Gouillon, who is known for his support for Serbs in Kosovo, to her talk show. After the show aired he accused her of demonising him, according to the report.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, cases of harassment of female journalists were reported in 2017.

On November 30, Dzenan Selimbegovic, a deputy secretary general of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, used offensive language to describe Sanele Prasovic Gadzo, a journalist for the public broadcaster BHT, and Arijana Saracevic-Helac, a journalist for the public broadcaster FTV, in a Facebook post.

In Kosovo, corruption was a major issue, putting journalists at risk, according to the report. On August 16, Parim Olluri, editor-in-chief of investigative website Insajderi, was physically assaulted by unknown individuals outside his home in Kosovo’s capital Pristina. Olluri believes the attack was linked to his work, because it followed his editorial about corruption allegations against former Kosovo Liberation Army commanders.