January 31, 2020.

The Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, together with three other journalists’ associations – the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina and the Association of Online Media – have filed an objection in response to the decision of the Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade to dismiss criminal charges against TV Happy editor-in-chief Milomir Marić.

The criminal charges allege that Marić perpetrated the crime of provoking national, racial and religious hatred and intolerance while speaking on a TV Happy programme about Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy professor Danijel Sinani.

The Prosecution, however, did not find grounds to suspect that such a crime had been committed, nor any other criminal offence that the prosecution would prosecute ex officio. The complainants submitting the objection state that the Prosecution’s response did not include the submitting of a decision on the rejection of charges.

Interestingly, the prosecutor in this case, Nenad Stefanović, is also the president of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors of Serbia, and that association appealed to the Commissioner for the Independence of the State Prosecutor’s Council due to the alleged endangering of the independence of the prosecution by daily newspaper Danas and portal Cenzolovka.

Cenzolovka published articles on the criminal charges filed against the editor-in-chief of TV Happy, and daily Danas reported information that prosecutor Stefanović had made a guest appearance on a programme that was hosted by the editor-in-chief of TV Happy, but that he did not seek to be exempt from inclusion in proceedings against him.