Aleksandar Đorđević, journalist of The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN, was awarded first prize under the 2016 EU Award for Investigative Journalism in Serbia, for his investigative story “Draining the mine and the budget”. The story covers an issue of public interests, but as Đorđević noted, it came in the center of attention because of how Serbian prime minister reacted against BIRN, in a campaign supported by media outlets and other stakeholders. No one however denied any fact presented in the article, he adds.
Thus, optimism cannot be lost as long as investigative journalists do their job responsibly and conscientiously and hold on to the facts and truth, said Đorđević.
He also pointed out that the freedom of speech and the freedom of the media in Serbia have been compromised in the last few years. It was also noticeable lately that many people are afraid to talk with journalists even informally, he added. “Before, for example, the situation was such that you… could reach some sources, some interlocutors who are willing to tell you something, or explain or give its opinion on the subject. Now it’s hard to convince people to even answer the phone, to meet and talk with you over coffee”, Đorđević explained.