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Serbian Journalists Highlight Unresolved Case of Murdered Reporter

Milan Pantic. Photo: Aleksandar Dobrosavljevic.

The Journalists’ Association of Serbia asked the International Federation of Journalists to help boost the campaign to find out who killed Serbian anti-corruption reporter Milan Pantic in 2001.

The Journalists’ Association of Serbia, UNS asked the International Federation of Journalists on Tuesday to adopt a resolution at its upcoming assembly to call on the Serbian authorities to ensure that the murderers of reporter Milan Pantic are finally found and punished.

In the draft resolution, UNS emphasised that 21 years on, an investigation by the police and the prosecutor’s office in the city of Jagodina has not brought the killers of Pantic to justice or identified those who ordered the murder.

Pantic, who was a correspondent for the newspaper Vecernje Novosti, was beaten to death on June 11, 2001 in Jagodina. During his long career as a journalist, he mainly wrote about high-level corruption cases in the town.

UNS expressed concern that the authorities do not appear to have taken action after information about the case was uncovered by Serbia’s Commission for the Investigation of the Murders of Journalists.

“We are concerned because the findings of the Commission to Investigate the Murders of Journalists have been submitted to Serbian official bodies and after that that there has been no progress,” says the draft UNS resolution.

Veran Matic, who co-founded the iconic Belgrade radio station B92 and is the chairman of the commission created in 2012 to investigate a string of unresolved murders of journalists, said last year that he has traced Pantic’s killing to his coverage of the privatisation of the Novi Popovac cement factory in the town of Paracin.

Matic said that what Pantic wrote “and what he would have written” about the sale had cost him his life.

“If I could, I would gladly tell you the names of all actors, but I still hope that a solution will be found for the case to be resolved,” Matic said in 2021 ahead of the 20th anniversary of Pantic’s death.

Pantic died eight months after the ousting of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, when a disparate coalition of reformers, nationalists and opportunists was wrestling with the legacy of a decade of war, sanctions and organised crime.

The annual assembly of the International Federation of Journalists will be held in Oman from May 31 to June 3 this year, and UNS will be represented by its board member Miljan Vitomirovic.

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