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    • Serbian CSOs operate in a hostile political environment: Attacks on the BCSP are intensifying

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    • Date: 18 June 2020
      The smear campaign against BCSP and the targeting of our researchers and members of the BCSP Executive Board are just another example of the increasingly hostile political environment in which civil society organizations operate in Serbia.

      Attacks by GONGOs and local pro-government media on the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) are intensifying. Pro-government website prismotra.net accused the BCSP and its members of being NATO lobbyists whose goal is to destabilize Serbia and cause riots on the streets of Belgrade. These malicious allegations were further disseminated by local pro-government media TV Pancevo, TV Rubin, TV Danube and nacionalist.rs.

      In addition, both prismotra.net and far right GONGO National Avangarda insinuated that BCSP had staged the recent scandal when a journalist was harassed for having taken photo of the President’s son in the company of people who have links with organized crime. 

      What is particularly concerning is that prismotra.net published photos and names of members of the BCSP Executive Board which could be seen as drawing targets on their backs. In an atmosphere where everyone who critically monitors the work of institutions is proclaimed a national traitor, it is not surprising that individuals send threats. BCSP staff have already been individually targeted, for example the apartment of BCSP Program Director Predrag Petrovic was broken into after his statements on the topics of Savamala case, security services, legal regulation of private security and the prevention of extremism. Also, BCSP received threatening letter

      In addition, BCSP has often been the target of accusations by state officials and government-organized non-government organizations (GONGOs) only because we point to the worrying state of democracy, the rule of law, the security sector and to the systemic corruption. The most recent attacks happened after we published analyses on Serbian security sector and foreign policy during the state of emergency when authors of the analyses were called out for undermining national security.

      These attacks are an example of the numerous similar or worse defamations, persecutions and pressures experienced by organizations at the national and local levels and investigative journalists in Serbia. Anyone who thinks, speaks and acts critically, with the aim of improving the life of the community, is forcibly silenced.

      BCSP will use all legal and political means to stop this practice.

      Related topics:attack on BCSP
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