March 1, 2020


The Office of the Prosecutor for High-Tech Crime has initiated proceedings during which it will examine whether the Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin illegally came into the possession of an electronic correspondence between Veljko Lalić, the editor of Nedeljnik [Weekly], and former defence minister Dragan Šutanovac.

The Serbian defence minister publicly criticised Šutanovac, his predecessor, for an open editorial piece he authored for Nedeljnik in which he allegedly attacked Serbia for cooperating militarily with Russia, and all because of the announced arrival in Serbia of Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu.

Šutanovac submitted the article to Lalić, as editor-in-chief, but the text was never published – neither in the print edition nor on the Nedeljnik website, which prompted this newspaper, as well as local and foreign journalist’s associations, to call for an investigation to determine whether the newsroom of this weekly publication is under surveillance.

The Ministry of Defence issued an apology to Nedeljnik, stating that a mistake had been made by the PR service and that the defence minister’s reaction actually related to an interview Šutanovac gave to another newspaper, even though that interview included no reference to military cooperation with Russia. The Defence Minister even went a step further and ordered his party colleagues to file a criminal complaint against him for the possible intercepting of the communications of Nedeljnik editor-in-chief Veljko Lalić.