JUNE 11, 2005
Posted: June 30, 2005
Grujica Spasovic, Danas
An anonymous telephone threat was made to the Belgrade-based independent daily after Danas reported that the Serbian government had identified the town where indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic was hiding.
On June 10, Danas reported that Mladic was residing in one of the larger towns in central Serbia and that the government was deliberating how to apprehend him. The article relied on an unnamed source. Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander who has been indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Serbian Interior Minister Dragan Jocic denied media reports about Mladic’s whereabouts, the Belgrade-based independent radio station B92 reported. Danas said it stood by its story.
On June 11, a day after the article was published, a man identifying himself as “personal security of General Ratko Mladic from Republika Srpska” called the Danas newsroom and asked to speak with Spasovic, the editor-in-chief. According to a transcript of the call published in Danas, the caller said: “Pass him [Spasovic] the message: From today on, he is dead. We will kill him, cut his head off, legs and arms, for what he wrote … published about General Mladic.” Spasovic told CPJ that he has received numerous threats during his 20-year career, but this one left him especially concerned for his safety.
On June 13, Danas Director Radivoj Cveticanin sent an official request to the Interior Ministry, asking it to investigate the threat and provide protection for Spasovic and his family. The Interior Ministry did not respond for seven days. On June 20, the Interior Ministry invited Spasovic to give a statement regarding the threat. He gave a statement at the Belgrade branch of the Interior Ministry the next day, but police did not offer protection to him or his family.
JULY 14, 2005
Posted: July 18, 2005
An anonymous caller told a security guard at the Belgrade-based independent radio and television station that a bomb would explode in an hour inside the station’s offices because of its “anti-Serb campaign,” according to local news reports and CPJ interviews.
B92 director Veran Matic told CPJ that about 15 staffers were evacuated from the premises for about two hours while the police examined the building and its surroundings. No explosive devices were found.
B92 said in a statement that the threat was made after Vjerica Radeta, a member of Parliament from the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS), called the station “mercenary and anti-Serb” during a debate. SRS vice-president Aleksandar Vucic made a similar charge against the station on July 9.
The station also received a bomb threat on July 11 after a live broadcast of the commemoration of the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, B92 journalist Marko Mrkic told CPJ.
Matic told CPJ that threats against B92 have intensified during the last year, and many have been made directly against him and his family. “The radicalization and the rise of the number of threats are the results of the inefficient reaction of the government and the police to the past threats,” Matic told CPJ.
B92 has provided extensive news coverage of politically sensitive war crimes issues in Serbia and is the only broadcaster in the region providing live coverage of the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic at the Hague-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.