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News 08 Dec 17

Serbian Journalist Threatened After Grilling Activist

N1 journalist Marija Antic received death threats on social networks after quizzing French-Serbian activist Arnaud Gouillon about his role in far-right movements.

Maja Zivanovic
BIRN
Belgrade

Arnaud Gouillon and Marija Antic in N1 studio on December 2. Photo: N1

A Serbian journalist Marija Antic has said she received death and rape threats after grilling a far-right French activist Arnaud Gouillon about his views and activism.

“The job of a journalist is to try to come to the truth. It’s for the audience to accept this truth or not,” Antic told BIRN.

During her December 2 interview with French-Serbian citizen Arnaud Gouillon, known best in Serbia for his advocacy for Serbs in Kosovo, Antic asked him about his past involvement in the far-right Identity Movement in France.

Gouillon said he had been a member of the Movement in the past but denied any current connection with it.

Two days later, VICE website revealed that Gouillon had been a speaker at an Identity Movement event in 2012 at which participants wore pig masks to show contempt for Islam.

Antic also asked Gouillon about his connections with Serbia's own far-right 1389 movement, as he has attended some of its events, but Gouillon denied any real connection.

Soon after the interview, Gouillon, who is head of an NGO called “Solidarity for Kosovo”, complained on social media that he had been “attacked” and said that N1 television had tried to “demonize” him.

“It is obvious that they prepared themselves carefully for these attacks, and that they intended to demonize me in order to look like a bad guy,” he said.

He added that 12,000 donors from France had backed him, and that his help for the Serbs of Kosovo over the last 13 years had been worth millions of euros.

Gouillon is known in Serbia for his advocacy for the Serbian minority in Kosovo, and has had a Serbian passport since 2015.

The following year, Serbia's then President, Tomislav Nikolic, awarded him a medal for outstanding merits in the field of humanitarian work.

Antic insisted she had treated him in same way as any other guest on N1 . “I’ve said nothing new. It is all already known,” she said.

Antic added police had summoned her on Thursday for talks about the threats she had received after Gouillon stated that the interview was the “attack” on him.

Serbian human rights NGOs and the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality have condemned the threats.

Gouillon, meanwhile, has called on the TV station “to stop the hunt that journalists of this media [outlet] are leading against me”. He said he would refuse any further contact with N1 until he received an apology.

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