A significant number of journalists gathered outside Serbia's Government's seat on Wednesday under the "Journalists against Phantoms" slogan in a protest organised by the Group for Media Freedom, N1 reported.
The protest was triggered by the latest incident when two masked men threw hundreds of leaflets reading 'Republic of Serbia: Goodbye; N1: Welcome to Luxembourg' across the fence into the backyard of the building housing N1 TV Belgrade.
The head of the Independent Association of Serbia's Journalists (NUNS), Zeljko Bodrozic, said that if Serbia wanted to join the European family of states should liberate the media.
He added the journalists gathered to support N1 but also all others who tried to work professionally.
The Belgrade NIN weekly journalist Vuk Cvijic said they rallied outside the Government "because of N1."
"They reported on everything that is kept secret in this country. If they didn't, it would not have been known about the whistle-blower (Aleksandar Obradovic). We know that our colleague (Milan Jovanovic) house was set ablaze. I'm afraid that these authorities are facing arguments and opt for violence," Cvijic said.
Dozens of media people, members of NGOs, some opposition politicians and citizens gathered at the Media Centre in the southern city of Nis to express the support of N1 TV Belgrade. They said that “N1 is a target today, tomorrow could be anyone.”
He added that the example of the whistle-blower showed what solidarity could do and call on people to express solidarity at the "It's not Philosophical to Keep Silent," debate at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade on Thursday.
Sloba Georgijev, a journalist with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) said the regime was trying to 'liquidate' N1 "with everything that is going on with Telekom (the state broadband, Internet, cable TV and mobile telephony provider).
"We from small media outlets do something, but nothing of that would have been known if there were no N1," he added, saying that without the people's support, the professional media could not exist.
During the rally, Sima Redzepovic, from some Chetnicks' movement (Chetnicks were Nazi collaborators for the most of WW II), was showing and distributing ‘passports’ of ‘The N1 Republic.’
In the meantime, the Independent Society of Vojvodina Journalists (NDNV) from the northern city of Novi Sad made a video in support of N1 TV, and the President of NDNV managing Board Norbert Sinkovic said that “without the citizens, there is no media freedom.”
“Media freedom is not only an issue for the journalists, but it’s also an issue for all people… That’s why now is the time for all of us to support professional journalism and defend N1.”
Announcing the protest, the Group for Media Freedom said that journalists and other media people were under daily insults, pressures, vilifications, threats, intimidations…
"We are in our country, but live and work in a hostile environment. We don't have the support of either police or judiciary, not to mention the authorities. On the contrary, the journalists and other media people who do their job honourably have not been safe in Serbia for a long time," the Group said.
It added that "the authorities aim to shut down all media which don't create their editorial policy to suit the promotion and propaganda of the (ruling) Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and (Serbia's President) Aleksandar Vucic."