February 17, 2023
Predrag Koluvija, the owner of the Jovanjica company, who is accused of organising a criminal group that grew marijuana, has sued investigative portal BIRN Serbia, claiming that journalists of the portal published falsehoods in one of their articles when conveying information from the trial. He is seeking the court award him damages in compensation for the mental anguish he has suffered.
In the controversial article, BIRN reported in detail on everything heard during a hearing in the “Jovanjica” case – in which Koluvija and his associates are being tried for allegedly growing marijuana – during which the prosecutor presented information from court judgements of a Hungarian court for cannabis smuggling dating back to 2011 and 2012, in which Koluvija is mentioned, as well as reporting on the responses to those allegations of Koluvija’s defence and Koluvija himself.
The law permits the publishing of information from ongoing criminal proceedings provided that information has been presented during a full trial hearing.
According to BIRN Serbia, this lawsuit contains all the elements of a SLAPP lawsuit and represents an attempt to intimidate the media into not reporting on certain topics or individuals.