TV Happy editor-in-chief not to be held accountable for insulting university professor

March 1, 2020

Milomir Marić, editor-in-chief of national, pro-government channel TV Happy, will not be held criminally liable for public insults made at the expense of Belgrade University professor Danijel Sinani.

Marić’s insulting remarks, based on the professor’s national identity, were made at the end of September last year during a broadcast that he was presenting, which was preceded by a speech of Professor Sinani in which he criticised Finance Minister Siniša Mali and his – since proven – plagiarised doctoral dissertation.

The criminal charges against Marić were filed by the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation, along with three other associations of journalists and the media. The Higher Belgrade Prosecutor’s Office rejected the part of the complaint accusing the TV Happy editor-in-chief of having committed the criminal offence of provoking national, racial and religious hatred and intolerance, with this stance later also confirmed by the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office.

The second part of the criminal complaint, in which the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation sought that Milomir Marić be prosecuted for the lesser criminal offence of defamation and damaging the professor’s reputation on the basis of racial, religious, national or other intolerance was transferred by the Higher Prosecutor’s Office to the Third Basic Prosecutor’s Office, but this office concluded that there were no grounds for initiating ex officio proceedings.

The Faculty of Philosophy, where Professor Danijel Sinani lectures, also filed a criminal complaint against Marić for inciting national, racial and other forms of hatred and intolerance, but this charge was also rejected by the prosecution. An appeal to this decision was then subsequently rejected by the Appellate Prosecution.