Serbian newspaper censors obituary for political reasons

The debate about media suppression in Serbia was renewed when "Politika" removed part of an obituary saying its art director designed the cover of a book about censorship under Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbian newspaper censors obituary for political reasons - NewsMavens
Bookstore display for Gavrila Principe, the assassin of Archduke Ferdinand, in Belgrade, Serbia in 2014. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Serbian journalist Srđan Škoro often wrote about his problems finding venues to promote his book about government censorship. In the city of Niš, for example, Škoro organized a book promotion event outdoors because no library wanted to host it. 

The subject of that book, Aleksandar Vučić, now president of Serbia, insists that he runs a democratic country where censorship does not apply. But Serbian journalists complain that their work and safety  are rapidly worsening. And last month, Serbian authorities tried to expel a Belgian journalist but backed down after a flood of outrage from international organizations. 

This self-censorship by Politika is yet another example of the pressure to stay on Vučić's good side for media professionals.

To sum up, the Serbian government should learn the definition of democracy before boasting about its state in Serbia.  

media,politics,art

Details from the story:

  • The first edition of "Vučić and Censorship" was published in 2015.
  • Its protagonist, Aleksandar Vučić, was prime minister at the time. He became president in 2017.
  • Politika's art director, Darko Novaković, designed the cover of the book.
  • After Novaković died, Politika removed a section of an "in memoriam" article written by Srđan Škoro, author of "Vučić and Censorship."
  • The censored excerpt mentioned Novaković's cover art and quoted Škoro saying that Novaković "was brave enough to sign his name and surname under his work.” 
  • The Serbian Independent Journalists' Association reacted, saying that "even the most senior members of the association don't recall such political 'editing' of obituaries." 
  • Novaković's son published the uncensored version of obituary on his website.
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