NOVI SAD, Serbia — A Serbian broadcast journalist is in the hospital after being beaten by unidentified assailants in the northern city of Novi Sad, the latest in a string of attacks against media workers in the Balkan country.
Dasko Milinovic said in a tweet that he was tear-gassed and beaten with metal bars early on April 16 by two hooded men who then fled the scene.
The attack was condemned by Prime Ministe Ana Brnabic, who called it a “terrible and inadmissible” occurrence and vowed that the attackers will be “severely punished.”
Serbia, which is formally seeking European Union membership, is under growing pressure from the bloc to improve press freedoms and safety for reporters, especially for those investigating crime and corruption.
Local police told RFE/RL that they were investigating the incident in which Milinovic suffered “minor injuries,” according to a medical report quoted by the police.
Milinovic and his colleague, Mladen Urdarevic, host a daily satirical show called Alarm on their Internet radio station.
Following the attack, Milinovic wrote on Twitter that his state was good and blamed the attack on what he called “fascists.”
“I’m fine. Fascists are stupid as hell. I was tear-gassed and hit in the arm three times. Thanks for caring. Death to fascism!” Milinovic wrote.
The Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina (NDNV) called for the perpetrators of the attack to be brought to justice.
“This is another incident in a very short period of time in which journalists were directly attacked,” the NDVD said.
“Barbaric attacks show how seriously endangered the physical security of journalists and media workers in Serbia is today,” NDVD said, adding that such attacks were “a direct consequence of the inaction of state institutions, which do not solve attacks on journalists.”
Brnabic, speaking to journalists in Belgrade on April 16, said that the attack represented “a red line, which must not be crossed in a civilized society.”
In its latest report on Serbia, the EU said that “cases of threats, intimidation, and violence against journalists are still a source of serious concern.”
In February, a Serbian court sentenced Dragoljub Simonovic, the former mayor of a Belgrade suburb, to more than four years in prison for being behind a 2018 arson attack on the home of investigative reporter Milan Iovanovic.
President Aleksandar Vucic, who has been Serbia’s president since 2017, has faced accusations of curbing media freedoms and democracy.