12. Novembar 2011

Dear, We are addressing you with this open letter in order to draw public attention to the problem the independent investigative journalism in  Sandžak encounters. With the renewal of the national magazine for politics and culture Sandžak, many questions were raised about which neither the local media nor the local correspondents and contributors of the national electronic and print media would not, or should not write. Due to the open writing on privatization of state-owned enterprises, within the first issues of the renewed Sandžak magazine, Novi Pazar tycoon Ć. Š. delivered open threats to our reporter, about which the public and the authorities were promptly notified.

In the latest issues of the Sandžak magazine, the research team openly wrote about the “construction mafia” in Novi Pazar, the conjunction of politics, crime, the police, the judiciary and the prosecution, as well as drug-trafficking, with special emphasis on the police action Ghetto and breaking up the drug chain of Hajrović Hikmet and his connections with certain political parties. Since the occurrence of these issues, our associates and editor-in- chief are exposed to constant pressure from the ruling structures in the City Administration and the leaders of the political parties led by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Rasim Ljajić. First, a group of people close to the Minister Ljajić was instructed to monitor and try to physically attack the editor- in- chief, some members of the editorial board and their friends in order to frighten, hurt and threaten them.

Specifically, for the editor in chief was in charge one of the people in the closest surrounding of Rasim Ljajić, employed in the City Administration as security officer (initials: B.S.), who even before attacked journalists and one television crew which was reporting on a particular event, and physically expelled them from the building of the City Administration. One of the city officials who was mentioned in the article about the construction mafia, A.P., inquired about the place of residence of the editor-in-chief and the signatory of this letter, threatening to, either himself personally or his son, a boxer,   have to “reeducate him a little”. During September, the editor-in-chief and some of his associates, more than once received calls on their cell phones from an unknown number. When they answered, the person who called would remain silent. During the visit of the foreign ambassadors to Novi Pazar, members of some non-governmental organizations close to Minister Ljajić, tried to demonize and present in the ugliest perspective the editor-in-chief and the Sandžak magazine.

The last events took place, and are still taking place, after the release of no. 158, in which certain aspects of the narcotics trade in Novi Pazar and the backgrounds of the police action Ghetto are cleared up, when 153 kg of heroin and narcotics processing laboratories were seized. The editor- in-chief of the Sandžak magazine, repeatedly receives threatening messages with offensive content from a number of MTS (064 953 ****)* (1) Sve se zna!! da tekstove-scenarije-pitanja, sastavljaju N.N. i N.N. (imena ne navodimo iz bjezbedonosnih razloga osoba koje se spominju, a nemaju veze ni sa revijom ni sa tekstovima), te poturaju i nagovaraju pred zakon o medijima odgovornog mazluma-jetima Jahju Ferhatovica, koji vam odavno to prica, te ja na osnovu te kuloarske price pisem tebi ovu poruku. Isterace se ovo do kraja … bices kaznjen kad tada; (2) Napravio si vise krivicnih dijela, bice ti i napisano ti je vise tuzbi i krivicnih prijava, nisi ni svijestan sta radis, osvijestice te zatvor od 2g-3g i vise.

Neither the editor-in-chief of nor Sandžak magazine, are fleeing from the law if the newspaper published anything illegal, but we responsibly claim that it is all documented facts, and because we believe these pressures by political strongmen and local government officials are threats that can jeopardize not only the freedom of investigative journalism, but also the lives of the editor-in-chief s and the associates of the Sandžak magazine.

Also, we want to emphasize that the editor-in-chief of the Sandžak magazine has already been a subject of death threats, as editor of politics in the then weekly Glas Sandžaka on 25. 07. 2006, and that this case is treated in the European Parliament resolution 1535, On the protection of life and freedom of journalists, adopted on 25. 01. 2007 (Articles 1 and 38), which was ratified by all parliaments of the European Union, and the police, even though it got the number and the address from which he was threatened,  five years later did not shed light on the case and never officially informed him about the development of the investigation, which we doubt that it is implemented, because the threats were also addressed by the then city officials.

Because this case of brutal threats, a series of insults and pressures on the journalistic profession and the personality of the members of our editorial board and staff, in addition to national associations of journalists and the police, we address this issue to the European Parliament and the parliaments of all the countries that have ratified the Resolution 1535 of the European Parliament, as well as all the relevant international associations for the protection of journalists and human rights and freedoms. We believe that times when murders of journalists Slavko Curuvija, Milan Pantic and Dade Veselinović are far behind us and no one not even the minister and the mayor have the right to threaten or attack any journalist, writer or intellectual.

If with something which is written they not agree or think that they are damaged, they need to seek justice in court. If there is a forged court process, as indicated in the messages, or any other attack on the editor- in-chief of Sandžak magazine or any of his associates, we want the public to be informed that behind it is the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Rasim Ljajić and his local government in Novi Pazar, headed by Mayor Meho Mahmutović.

Editor-in-chief, Sandžak magazine

Jahja Fehratović

Delivered to:

  • MUP (Ministarstvo unutrašnjih poslova)
  • PU NP (Policijska uprava Novi Pazar)
  • NUNS (Nezavisno udruženje novinara Srbije)
  • UNS (udruženje novinara Srbije)
  • NDNV (Nezavisno društvo novinara Vojvodine)
  • UNV (Udruženje novinara Vojvodine)
  • SAN (Sandžačka asocijacija novinara)
  • UENS (Udruženje evropskih novinara Srbije)
  • Ombudsman
  • Minstarstvo kulture i informiranja
  • Povjerenik za ravnopravnost
  • Helsinški odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji
  • European Court of Human Rights Council of Europe
  • OSCE Mission to Serbia
  • Udruženje bh novinari
  • Nezavisna unija profesionalnih novinara BiH
  • Nezavisno udruženje profesionalnih novinara Crne Gore
  • Udruženje novinara Republike Hrvatske
  • Hrvatsko novinarsko društvo
  • Udruženje novinara Makedonije
  • Bugarska medijska koalicija
  • SEEMO (South East Europe Media Organization)
  • AEJ (Association of European Jorunalists)
  • JAE (Journalist Associations of Europe)
  • EJ (Europen Journalist Association)
  • IF (Internationals Federation of Journalists Europe)
  • ICIJ (International Consortium of investigate Journalists)
  • Britissh Associations of Journalists
  • DJV – (Deutcher journalisten-Verband)
  • Brussels Press Club Europe
  • Associazione Indipendente di Giornalisti
  • FAPA (Federacion de Asociaciones de Peridistas de Espana)
  • Associations de journalistes
  • Artvin Gazeteciler Dernegi
  • Avrupa gazeteciler dernegi
  • Naconalni parlamenti zemalja članica Evropske unije
  • International P.E.N Centre
  • Human Right Wotch
  • Helsinski Commitee for Human Rights
  • World Association of Newspapaers
  • Word Press Freedom Committee
  • IPI  (International Press Institute)
  • ASNE (American Society of Newspaper Editors)
  • Council of National Jurnalism Organizations


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