Serbian journalist arrested for COVID-19 coverage

Ana Pisonero Hernandez, European Commission’s spokesperson for enlargement negotiations and neighbourhood policy, said that the arrest of Serbian journalist Ana Lalić for her reporting on COVID-19 is of ‘great concern’. journalist Ana Lalić was arrested on 1 April on charges of spreading panic and unrest after she reported on working conditions of the medical staff in the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina (KCV) and was held in custody because of the danger that she could repeat the crime. 

She was released from prison on 2 April. The arrest came only a few days after the Government of Serbia adopted conclusions that information on the COVID-19 should be centralised. After the outcry over Lalić’s arrest, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić announced that the conclusions will be revoked.

‘Freedom of media is key at all times, and must be preserved. In a time of emergency like the one we are facing, it is of utmost importance that emergency measures are not at the expense of fundamental principles and values. Media and journalists have a key role to play in informing the public of critical information and monitors government actions,’ stated Pisonero.