The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights hereby expresses its surprise at the speed at which the Ministry of Culture and Information filed a misdemeanour report against the eminent Belgrade weekly Vreme and sincerely hopes that it will continue responding as rapidly and diligently to all breaches by media outlets, especially the tabloids that have grossly violated the Press Code of Conduct and the Public Information and Media Act on innumerable occasions, as the many Press Council decisions against them corroborate. The BCHR expects that the Ministry will just as fervently and consistently react to any future violations in accordance with the law, ethical principles and pledge to support the professional work of the media, given the sizable funds allocated to tabloid media through various projects. We have no doubt that the Ministry values the tax-payers’ money and believes that it should be used expediently and allocated in accordance with public interests, professional public information standards, culture of speech and dialogue, and Serbia’s laws and Constitution.
To recall, BCHR on 11 January 2020 filed a criminal report with the Republican Public Prosecution Service (RPPS) against unidentified staff of the Niš Higher Public Prosecution Service and/or the city police officers, who are suspected of leaking to the dailies Informer, Alo Srpski telegraf and its Internet portal republika.rs the statement Ninoslav Jovanović from Malča gave the Niš Higher Public Prosecutor, in which he testified in detail of the grave crimes he committed against his underage victim. The Ministry initiated misdemeanour proceedings against Vreme because it ran the tabloids’ front-pages to illustrate its article titled “Evil Looming from the Newsstands”.