A law firm in Belgrade, on behalf of private company GIM, which has found itself at the centre of a scandal related to the trading of arms from the Krušik weapons factory, due to its connection with the father of Serbia’s interior minister, has threatened to sue national daily newspaper Danas if the newspaper continues to report on this company’s operations.
Although media first reported last year that the interior minister’s father was allegedly involved in the arms trade, the public only became interested in the theme when it was revealed in October that a Krušik factory worker had been arrested and detained a few weeks earlier for providing reporters with information about the factory’s operations and how company GIM purchased weapons from the factory under preferential rates.
The worker in question, Aleksandar Obradović, unofficially considered a whistle-blower, remains under house arrest, but no charges have been filed against him even two and a half months after his arrest. The media have continued reporting on the operations of the Krušik plant and the operations of company GIM, while representatives of the authorities dub the affair fictitious and deny that there is anything controversial in the arms trade.
Daily newspaper Danas is among the few media outlets covering this affair in its reporting. Threatening the newspaper with a lawsuit if it continues reporting on the matter, lawyers representing GIM claim that the articles published in Danas over the past two months are damaging to GIM’s partners and the firm itself “while they also jeopardise the country’s national security and its defence mechanisms”.
Danas editor-in-chief Dragoljub Petrović assessed that the threat of a lawsuit could be seen as pressure exerted on the editorial board of the newspaper aimed at discouraging it from monitoring events surrounding the disputed operations of the Krušik weapons factory. Petrović announced consultations with journalists’ associations and legal practitioners regarding further moves.
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