Twitter suspends the accounts of deputies and officials of the Serbian ruling party
Twitter’s homepage. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC.
Twitter has reportedly suspended the accounts of at least 16 political figures in Serbia, all of whom are either members of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party or hold important state positions.
Political rights NGO CRTA on Friday named 13 ruling party MPs whose accounts have been suspended – Nevena Djuric, Sandra Bozic, Milica Nikolic, Jelena Obradovic, Aleksandar Markovic, Krsto Janjusevic, Dusan Radojevic, Jelena Zaric Kovacevic, Aleksandra Tomic, Stasa Stojanovic, Zoran Tomic, Andrijana Vasic and Olja Petrovic.
Twitter also suspended the accounts of Miroslav Cuckovic, the new city manager of Belgrade, and Slavisa Micanovic, a member of the main and executive boards of the Serbian Progressive Party.
The account of Arnaud Gouillon, head of the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for cooperation with the diaspora and the Serbs of the Region, has also been suspended. Gouillon is a French national, founder of the organization Solidarité Kosovo.
According to screenshots Gouillon and MP Stasa Stojanovic posted online, they were suspended for breaking Twitter rules and couldn’t post new content or “like” anything.
Stojanovic said on Instagram that she doesn’t know why her Twitter account was suspended.
“I didn’t engage in any discussion, insult anyone, or do anything wrong, especially not there. [on Twitter]here I retweet, share and like above all [Serbian Progressive] things that celebrate, things that happen in our country, and especially beautiful things, about art, about culture,” Stojanovic said.
Gouillon hinted in a Facebook post that he had been suspended for his comment on an opinion poll on whether Serbs thought the former province of Kosovo “was lost”.
“Twitter just suspended my account where I had 34,000 followers, without explanation! It’s scandalous! Look at my last tweet and decide for yourself if I wrote something wrong,” Gouillon wrote.
This is the third year in a row that Twitter has removed or added warning messages to accounts in Serbia.
In August 2021, Twitter labeled a number of well-known newspapers and TV channels in Serbia as outlets over whose editorial content the state exercises control “through financial resources and direct or indirect political pressure”.
In April 2020, Twitter deleted almost 8,558 accounts which it said were “working to promote Serbia’s ruling party”, the Serbian Progressive Party.