FYI: CPJ protests death threats against Serb journalist

Chrystyna Lapychak (
Tue, 28 Oct 97 19:57:38 EST

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465-1004
Fax: (212) 465-9568 Web: E-Mail:

October 28, 1997

His Excellency Slobodan Milosevic
President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Fax: +381-11-656-862

Momcilo Krajisnik
Bosnian Serb Representative to
the Collective Bosnian Presidency

Your Excellencies,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express its
profound concern about the safety of Gordana Igric, a prominent
Serbian free-lance journalist, who has been forced into hiding by a
series of death threats against her for a recent CBS News report on
indicted war criminals at large in the Bosnian town of Foce.

Igric began receiving threatening phone calls at her Belgrade
apartment after Serbian, Bosnian, and European media broadcast
excerpts of her conversation in a Foce caf‚ with Janko Janjic, a
Bosnian Serb soldier known as "Tuta" and wanted for rape, that aired
on the CBS program "Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel" on October 15. On
hidden camera, Janjic told Igric and CBS News producer Randall Joyce
that for 5,000 DM (about $2,800) he would describe how he killed and
raped hundreds of Bosnian Muslims in Foce. He boasted no fear of being
caught by NATO soldiers, who were shown sitting in an adjacent

The telephone calls Igric received at home shortly after independent
local and foreign media throughout Serbia and Bosnia broadcast
excerpts of her interview, featured the sounds of gunfire and the
ticking of a time bomb. The journalist, who is writing a book about
war crimes in Foce, hid in another location outside Belgrade. However,
the threatening telephone calls continued to plague her in her hiding
place, forcing her to move again with her two children.

Igric received death threats for her reporting on war criminals in
Foce once before. One of her articles, which the Sunday Times and
Bosnian Federation newspapers reprinted in July 1996 prompted
threatening phone calls. She had not returned to Foce until August
1997 to continue her investigations.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the
universally recognized rights of our colleagues around the world, CPJ
is greatly alarmed by these threats of violence against Igric for
practicing her profession. The fact that these threatening calls have
followed her even in hiding lead many to believe that their
perpetrators have access to wire taps and that she remains under close
surveillance by people sympathetic to indicted war criminals. These
circumstances violate all international norms of freedom of expression
and privacy rights, as well as provisions on press freedom within the
Dayton Peace Accords. It is the responsibility of both Your
Excellencies' governments to guarantee that all journalists are able
to work freely and safely. We urge you to investigate and punish those
responsible for the death threats against Igric and do your utmost
ensure her safety.

Thank you for your attention. We await your comments.


William A. Orme, Jr.
Executive Director