Ana Lalić the Winner of Freedom of Speech Award by DW

07. May 2020

Ana Lalić, the journalist of Nova.rs portal, is one of the laureates of the Freedom of Speech Award awarded by DW. Other winners have also been awarded for reporting during the pandemic that authorities in various countries tried to prevent.

A time of pandemic and state of emergency is often a bad time for freedom of speech. This is why DW has selected 17 journalists from four continents as the Freedom of Speech Award laureates who, facing repression, reported in the public interest.

“Every citizen has the right to information supported by facts. Any form of censorship can cost us lives. Attempts to criminalize reporting on current issues clearly violates freedom of opinion”, said Peter Limburg, DW Director General, explaining the award.

Ana Lalić, a journalist of Nova.rs portal, who spent a night in early April in custody suspected of “harassing the public and spreading panic”, because she was reporting on miserable conditions at the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina, is also among the laureates. Several days ago, the Prosecution eventually adjourned the proceedings for lack of evidence.

On Friday (May 1), Lalić found her car with a tire pierced with a sharp metal object. The police conducted an investigation.

“I don’t want to feel scared, to let them drag me into paranoia and look over my shoulder in the street. Now, unfortunately, I have security provided by my company. I do feel a sort of tense”, Ana Lalić told DW. “Mostly the people on the street give me support, but there is always someone to tell me that I am a traitor and things that should be done to me. It is embarrassing. However, I will not stop doing my job the way I do it, on the contrary, I am even more determined.”

She believes that the constant campaign that she has been exposed to and the latest car incident rather indicate panic of the authorities and how much they are bothered by the truth. About the award given to her by DW she says:

“I believe that I was released from custody only due to collegiality and solidarity, not only in Serbia but in the whole of Europe. Such support is a kind of shield. It gives me assurance that this job makes sense, that the truth must eventually come to light no matter how much they are trying to conceal it.”

“I hope that authorities have learned their lesson, that no journalist will ever be arrested in Serbia only because they are doing their job as we have shown them that we will not allow it, Ana Lalić added.

“We hold in high esteem all our colleagues who in these difficult times are forcefully prevented from doing their job”, DW Director General Peter Limburg pointed out. “DW demands that all journalists around the globe, who have been arrested over their reporting on coronavirus-crisis, be immediately released.”

The Freedom of Speech Award has been awarded since 2015 to initiatives or individuals who are exceptionally committed to human rights and freedom of opinion. Some of the winners so far include Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the White House Reporters Association and Mexican journalist and author Anabel Hernandez.

The award ceremony was usually the main event of the great Global Media Forum held in Bonn. However, due to pandemic, this year the conference will take place virtually.

 

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