Journalist jailed following lawsuit of ruling party officials

April 1, 2017

Stefan Cvetković, a journalist from the town of Bela Crkva in northeast Serbia, has been sentenced to two years and three months in prison and fined more than two million dinars (in excess of €16,000; the average monthly salary in Serbia is less than €400) after officials of the ruling Serbian Progressive party filed three criminal charges against him for defamation of character and the unauthorised publishing of someone else’s recording.

Cvetković stated that he doesn’t know why he was convicted, then added that these charges were motivated by questions he posed at press conferences related to the involvement of these officials in criminal activities.

He announced that he will file charges against Prime Minister and Serbian Progressive Party President Aleksandar Vučić, as he allegedly has evidence that Vučić is the organiser of a criminal group that is preparing election fraud.

Journalists’ associations assessed that the verdict is scandalous and must be overturned at higher levels, otherwise this could be a sign that “the court is being used as a means to deal with unaccommodating journalists”.

Photo: Flickr / bloomsberries