Just yesterday, someone made seven attempts to log into the personal Instagram account of Ivana Milosavljević, a journalist at the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS). The first attempt had been recorded a few days earlier.
A lawyer from the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) filed a report with the relevant prosecutor’s office suspecting that these attempts were made because of her journalistic work and published investigative stories.
The report states that these attacks are a result of Ivana’s journalistic work and an attempt to harm her directly, posing a completely realistic danger of her social media accounts being taken over.
It has been just over a month since CINS published a story on its investigation into the Serbian Progressive Party’s (SNS) call center.
As CINS’s journalist, Milosavljević was briefly part of a large call center, tucked away from the public eye, from which more than 100 people called citizens daily, asking them if they would vote for the SNS. She exposed that it was a well-organized group, and the way they worked raised suspicions of vote-buying and funding using “black money”.
Bojan Perkov from the SHARE Foundation, which deals with digital security, says these are attempts by unknown individuals to access the Instagram account without authorization.
These attempts, he adds, come at a very sensitive moment. Perkov believes that the investigation into the call center is likely connected to these attempts, as Ivana has gained significant public attention, and because the entire case was in focus once again.
In fact, the Anti-Corruption Agency decided not to initiate proceedings in relation to the SNS call center. Their decision states that SNS, the hostess agency M&J Lady, and the Center for Education and Development of Youth in Belgrade (CEROB) denied any involvement in the call center’s operations.
Reporting on his information, CINS reminded us of its investigation, in which it was documented that Milena Marković from the agency M&J Lady organized the work of the call center that our journalist infiltrated, and the money for the work was paid cash-in-hand on CEROB’s premises. CINS documented all this with video and audio recordings.
Nemanja Nenadić from Transparency Serbia has told CINS that the Agency has not done everything it could to investigate this case.
In addition to these proceedings, the work of the call center is also being investigated by the First Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade. In fact, MP candidates from the “Serbia against violence” coalition, Jelena Jerinić and Đorđe Pavićević, filed a criminal complaint with that prosecutor’s office against those responsible in this case. According to a statement given to CINS by that prosecutor’s office, they sent a request at the beginning of the year for gathering information to the Criminal Police Directorate.