Serbian reporter Marko Dragoslavić was recently punched after covering a protest in Belgrade. (Photo: Marko Dragoslavić/FoNet)

Serbian reporter Marko Dragoslavić punched after Belgrade protest

Berlin, March 13, 2023 – Serbian authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the recent attack on reporter Marko Dragoslavić, hold the perpetrator to account, and ensure that journalists can cover protests safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.

On March 7, an unidentified man punched Dragoslavić, a reporter for the privately owned news agency FoNet, as he was leaving a protest he covered in the capital city of Belgrade, according to news reports, a statement by SafeJournalists, a regional website tracking violence against reporters, and Dragoslavić, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

The man pulled a hood over Dragoslavić’s head, hit him in the face twice, and then fled the scene, according to those sources. The journalist was treated for bruising to his cheek at a local emergency room and was referred for a CT scan.

“Serbian authorities must thoroughly investigate the recent attack on FoNet reporter Marko Dragoslavić and hold the perpetrator to account,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative. “Authorities must ensure that members of the press can safely cover events of public interest without fear that they will be harassed and assaulted.”

Dragoslavić was reporting on a protest of hundreds of students denouncing the European Union’s plan to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Around the end of the protest, he filmed a demonstrator attacking another protester as a plainclothes officer intervened, but said he did not know whether the incident was related to the attack against him. 

Dragoslavić reported the attack to the police the day it occurred, but had not received an update as of March 13.

CPJ emailed the press department of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the police, but did not receive a reply.