Letter to Štefan Füle concerning censorship in Serbia

Brussels, 11 June 2014 Dear Commissioner Füle, dear Štefan, On 27 May, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović expressed concerns over online censorship by the Serbian government in the aftermath of the recent floods in the country. Online criticism of the government’s reaction to the floods was removed from websites and several websites were completely disabled. A number of people were also detained or invited to speak with the police after allegations of spreading panic. The Serbian government reaction denied all the allegations and the Prime Minister replied that he would not let anyone criticize Serbia. Such acts of censorship and actions that are considered intimidation, are worrying as they would run counter to Serbia’s commitments in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms, chiefly freedom of expression and access to information. Furthermore, such acts are not in line with the Copenhagen Criteria, which Serbia must adhere to as a candidate country to join the European Union. I would like to know whether the European Commission is in contact with the Serbian authorities regarding these developments and whether the Commission assesses that these actions are not in line with the accession criteria.

I look forward to receiving your answer. Sincerely, Marietje Schaake