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Protest against Censorship in Serbia

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The “United Citizens of Serbia” Movement, CSOs and individuals from Serbia joined the “In the Face of Censorship” initiative launched in protest of the latest cases of shut-down of several blog-sites and portals that called the Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić to responsibility for his actions during the severe spring floods that hit the region earlier this month.

Illustration taken from United Citizens of Serbia websiteIllustration taken from United Citizens of Serbia website

“With every passing day, censorship grows into an increasingly important topic and the fight against censorship is a condition we have to meet in order to make Serbia a decent state”, says the public call issued by the United Citizens for Serbia.

The Foundation OneWorld Platform for SEE joined the initiative of the United Citizens for Serbia and we give you the full text of teh open letter signed by bloggers, users of Tweeter, Facebook and other citizens of Serbia, on the behalf of freedom of speech and against censorship.

In the Face of Censorship

In these days when, due to indifference, incompetence and irresponsibility of the Government, the brave and humane citizens are forced to take upon themselves the functions of the state to assist the citizens of flooded and threatened areas – the authorities waste their time and energy on violations of the freedom of expression, attacking and shutting down internet websites that call for their accountability.

In a matter of days, the “Druga Strana” (The Other Side) blog and the “Teleprompter” portal were temporarily disabled, and the entire blog that journalist Dragan Todorović writes for “Blic” daily’s portal was deleted after Todorović republished a text that lists the reasons why Aleksandar Vučić needs to resign. We are forced to assume that similar examples of censorship will emerge in the future, too.

Lacking a strong parliamentary opposition, with few print and electronic media prepared to criticize the government, Vučić’s cabinet and its helpers attack the critical thought on the web and strangle the freedom of expression. Faced with disturbing questions and facts that don’t go in its favour, the Government relies on force, proving that it has no arguments to defend its actions.

We demand from the authorities to immediately stop all attacks on freedom of expression, to stop the efforts to silence the work of internet sites that approach its work from a critical point of view, and to start answering the questions that the public rightfully asks.

We demand from the authorities to respect and honour all other rights and freedoms and the rule of law.

We demand that the names of the victims that perished in the floods are released.

We demand transparent use and distribution of donated funds.

We demand that all representatives of government authorities, regardless at which level of government they may be stationed, are held accountable, on moral, misdemeanor or criminal grounds, for every life that could have been saved were it not for their indifference, irresponsibility and incompetence, as well as for all property that was destroyed and could have been protected with their adequate reaction.

We demand an end to censorship and start of a new era of accountability. (Source: Civic Initiatives)

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