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Support, not attack, the work of independent media

National Convent on the European Union (NKEU), Working Group on Negotiating Chapter 35 and Inter-religious Sub-Group on Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom express concern over the statement of President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic , during a visit to Beijing, in which the independent media from Kosovo and Metohija are attacked and labeled in the worst way that report in serbian language.

In his statement, President claims, among other things, that "foreigners" created a "network of agents" of the media in Kosovo and Metohija in order to "destroy the reputation of the Serb List" and "run a campaign to criminalize the north of Kosovo and Serbs in Kosovo". These arbitrary assessments negatively affect the work of independent media and impair their safety in the complex circumstances in which they otherwise act. We expect that President sends messages of encouragement and support to independent media, especially those working in areas where civil rights and security are threatened on a daily basis.

On this occasion, we also remind the President of the statement given during the Internal Dialogue with representatives of the NKEU Working Group for Chapter 35 that "he never divided Serbs to good and bad" and that "since 2012, he did not call anyone domestic traitors or foreign mercenaries." We expect thart President of the Republic of Serbia acts in accordance with his statements given at that session.

NKEU also expresses its concern about the attacks on other independent journalists and media in Serbia, as well as the cancellation of the space for organizing the "Freedom of expression on the trail of European values" tribune, which should be held in Nis, organized by the Institute for European Affairs.

In the end, we remind that Serbia recorded a 14-point drop in the list of media freedom of the Reporter without Borders, which is a clear illustration of the deteriorated state of media freedom and freedom of speech, as well as the overall image of our country in Europe and the world.