There has been no abating in the public reactions prompted by Veran Matić’s interview for Cenzolovka, despite a month having passed since then.
At that time, Matić, who is president of the Commission for Investigating the Murders of Journalists, assessed that the trial panel tasked with adjudicating in the case of those accused of murdering journalist Slavko Curuvija “has a clearly defined intention that will result in an acquittal” (of the defendants).
One current within the Bar Association of Belgrade, which in the meantime publicly demanded the introduction of prison sentences for those violating the presumption of innocence, stated that in his statements Matić , being the president of the Commission, was appearing as a representative of the executive authorities and not as a journalist.
“When Matić states that the ‘Trial Chamber will bring a predetermined acquittal decision’ and that he ‘is sorry that journalists and associations did not have a stronger presence in these hearings’ – he is pressuring the public in the direction of a conviction,” states the Bar Association of Belgrade, which is headed by Jugoslav Tintor.
Matić responded in a statement in which he said that the Bar Association has no right to “deprive journalists of their right to be journalists and to fight the impunity of crimes against journalists”.
“The intimidation of journalists will not work, and nor will Tintor’s initiative to criminalise freedom of thought and to punish journalists and editors who criticise courts with three-year prison terms,” said Matić.
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