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Judiciary against the media

Niš, 14.03.2024.


The tenth lecture, for the second generation of participants, as part of the training program Strengthening Capacity for Judicial Reform - southern Serbia, was held by Aleksandar Stankov, a journalist from Niš and Mihajlo Stojković, editor-in-chief of the InfoVranjska portal and director of the citizens' association Team for Development and Integration from Vranje. Dragan Đorđević, president of the Committee for Human Rights in Niš moderated the discussion. The lecture title is Judiciary against the media. 



Although the Constitution, laws, and international conventions guarantee freedom of media and expression, respect for these freedoms is not at an enviable level. The laws follow European standards, but the problem is the application and compliance of those laws in practice.


In the reports of domestic and international organizations and the speeches of journalist associations, it is pointed out that there is a noticeable increase in various forms of pressure on journalists and the media. In many cases, these are latent pressures that affect journalists' work, lead to self-censorship, and, in a broader context, to the threat of media freedom. Journalist associations, some journalists, and some prominent NGOs point out that pressure is exerted on the media and journalists through court proceedings.



Namely, two types of proceedings can be conducted against the media and journalists:


  • civil proceedings for damages due to damage to reputation and honor in connection with the publication of information in the media

  • and criminal proceedings that can be conducted against journalists as well as against other citizens for certain criminal offenses, mainly from the group of criminal offenses against honor and reputation, which are prosecuted by a private lawsuit (insult; disclosure of personal and family circumstances).




The lecture discussed:


  • how the courts act in cases in which representatives of the legislative and executive authorities, and politicians in general, appear as prosecutors;

  • whether there is different treatment of pro-regime and independent media before the domestic judiciary;

  • whether journalists are sufficiently protected and what the judiciary is doing to that end;

  • what are SLAPP lawsuits and what can be expected from the media against which SLAPP lawsuits are filed?


The lecture was realized with the support of the Open Society Foundation




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