19 NGOs: Urgent and decisive action required against threats due to freedom of expression

We demand from the State Prosecutor’s Office, the Police Directorate and the competent courts to urgently investigate, process and adequately punish in criminal proceedings the direct death threats directed at Ljubomir Filipović, a political analyst and columnist, threats to rape his child, as well as threats of violence against Jana Vlahović, a journalist and historian, on the social network X, due to their criticism of the broadcasting of the aggressively nationalistic song “Veseli se srpski rode” during the appearance of the Serbian national team at the Davis Cup.

We also condemn the countless vulgar insults directed at Ljubomir Filipović and Jana Vlahović, which are subject to prosecution in misdemeanour proceedings. We attach photos of part of the threatening messages.

It is particularly concerning that the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Kotor has dismissed all reports that Filipović submitted earlier regarding the threats received, except one for which the Misdemeanour Court in Budva fined a repeat offender of criminal offenses with a minimal fine of 250 EUR.

The absence of an urgent and decisive reaction by the competent authorities and the impunity of the perpetrators obviously encourages individuals to continue calling for violence against people because of their opinions, which is illegal and unacceptable in a democratic society. The state must resolutely defend the right to freedom of expression from those who would kill, rape and similar, and prevent and punish calls for the lynching of dissenters.

We urge the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to inform the public about the actions taken in these cases, and we appeal to the Police Directorate to provide adequate protection to individuals who continuously receive direct death threats.

Finally, we point out that it is completely unacceptable and prohibited to manifest aggressive nationalism and any other form of hate speech during sports and other public events, whether they are the Davis Cup, football matches of local clubs or social networks.

Human Rights Action (HRA)
SPECTRA Association
Women’s Rights Center (WRC)
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN CG)
Center for Women’s and Peace Education ANIMA
Center for Monitoring and Research (CeMI)
Center for the Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CRNVO)
Center for Democratic Transition (CDT)
Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM)
Center for Civil Liberties (CEGAS)
Montenegrin LGBTIQ Association Queer Montenegro
Montenegrin Media Institute for (MMI)
Network for Youth Activism of Montenegro (MOACG)
Union of Doctors of Medicine of Montenegro
Association of Youth with disabilities (UMHCG)