The High Court in Belgrade has issued a non-binding conviction against investigative reporting portal KRIK in the legal process based on the lawsuit filed by current Interior Minister Bratislava Gašić, and confirmation of the verdict will leave KRIK liable to pay damages of 100,000 dinars (approx. 900 euros), as well as 41,000 dinars (approx. 350 euros) in court costs.
It was while Gašić was serving as director of the BIA (Security Intelligence Agency) that he filed a lawsuit in response to a report from the public trial of the criminal group of Zoran Jotić Jotka, in which KRIK reported words stated by one of the witnesses that related to Gašić, which he evidently didn’t take kindly to.
Speaking to Cenzolovka, law professor Vesna Rakić Vodinelić said that condemning the media for publishing facts presented publicly before a court is “judicial censorship”, but she also reminded that similar first-instance verdicts “have collapsed at a higher instance”.
With these kinds of rulings, the court is effectively rescinding the public’s right to be informed and intimidating the media, stated the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation on its social media profiles. The Coalition for Media Freedom also responded to the verdict.
In a show of solidarity with colleagues from KRIK, the article that led to this media outlet being convicted has also been carried by Cenzolovka, Nova.rs, and the portals of TV N1 and daily newspaper Danas.
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