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12 Apr 2022

Mapping Media Freedom

Serbia: Three journalists charged with misdemeanour after covering protests against Rio Tinto lithium mine in Sombor

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Three journalists charged with misdemeanour after covering protests in Sombor, 12 April 2022

On 12 April 2022, three journalists working for the online local newspaper soinfo.org were charged with misdemeanour proceedings. Danijel Mirkov, Sara Mikić and Sava Majstorov face a fine of up to 150,000 Serbian dinars (1270 euro ca) for allegedly organising roadblock protests in Sombor, Serbia. The protests were organised across the country against the Rio Tinto company’s plan to open a lithium mine in western Serbia. According to the Request for Initiation of Misdemeanour Proceedings, the three reporters are suspected of having committed a crime under violation of public order without prior written notification to the competent authorities. On 4 December 2021, the protest gathered 200 people on Vidovdan Square and blocked public traffic for two hours. Soinfo.org claims that the reporters were identified and recorded by police officers as rally leaders even if the journalists told them that they were only covering the protest and thereby, had no connection with the protest’s organisers. Moreover, one of the journalists was charged for posting a photo of the protest on Facebook and sharing a report on another portal.