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news 10 Mar 17

Serbian Reporter says Mayor 'in Denial' Over Shoving

The Mayor of Belgrade, Sinisa Mali, is mired in a dispute over whether he shoved a reporter, Milka Domanovic, while she was trying to question him.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali I Photo: Beta

Serbian reporter Milka Domanovic on Thursday accused the Mayor of Belgrade of "denial", after his office dismissed claims that he had pushed her away while she was trying to ask him some questions.

Sinisa Mali’s office has denied the incident, saying it was clear that journalists from Istinomer and the investigative network KRIK were trying “to provoke the mayor and cause incidents”.

“On the videos that they [Istinomer and KRIK] made on that occasion, it is clear that the Mayor did not push anyone,” Mali’s office told BIRN on Thursday in a statement.

On Tuesday, after journalists from Istinomer and KRIK tried to pose questions to Mali, who has been avoiding journalists since his ex-wife gave KRIK an interview, they said he pushed Domanovic away as she tried to quizz him during a visit to the municipality of Rakovica.

KRIK and Istinomer published two videos in which Mali, surrounded by security, could be seen repeating the words “Thank you and goodbye” to Domanovic and asking her to send him written questions. At one moment in the videos, Domanovic asks the mayor to stop pushing her.



Mali has crossed swords before with the Network for Researching Crime and Corruption, KRIK. In 2015, it reported that he had secretly bought 24 apartments on the Bulgarian coast.

Mali also became involved in a media controversy following mysterious night-time demolitions last April in the city's riverside Savamala distict.

Masked people with excavators demolished several sites in the Savamala area where the Belgrade Waterfront project is being built.

Mali’s ex-wife, Marija, meanwhile, told KRIK in an interview on February 13 that Mali had been involved in the Savamala case and offered her help in an investigation.

Domanovic noted that after this interview, Istinomer and KRIK journalists were no longer on the list of the mayor’s press office for receiving announcements about his appearances.

“We [now only] see reports on the official website of Belgrade and in the ‘friendly’ media, Tanjug and Studio B, who receive announcements and go to these events,” Domanovic said.



She said the city's press office had also stopped answering questions after the interview with Mali’s ex-wife.

Domanovic said Mali was abusing his mayoral function. “We have heard that on March 17 he will be at some event, so we will use that as an opportunity to ask him questions,” Domanovic warned.

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