Press release from journalists’ and media associations regarding the scandalous judgment of the Appellate Court in Belgrade
The press and media associations believe that the judgment of the Belgrade Appellate Court in the trial against the web portal Autonomija.info, where this online medium is punished with 300,000 dinars, with accompanying default interest and legal costs – is not based on law and justice, but is politically motivated with the aim of compromising the operation and the survival of one of the few critically turned towards the government.
The Court of Appeal has, with a very garbled explanation, and no real insight into the nature of the case, twisted and made pointless the First Instance found, divesified the judgment of the High Court in Belgrade, which has rejected the lawsuit of Danijela Kulačin, a former official of the Third Serbia and owner of the company that was once interested in buying media in Vojvodina, against Independent journalists’ Association of Vojvodina the publisher of the portal Autonomija.info.
This “diversifying” judgment of the Appellate Court, which was signed by Judge Radmila Djuric, is an evident proof that the government is actively using all models of violation of media freedoms, often using Justice for this purpose.
It is not irrelevant to point out the fact that the judgment was recently delivered to the defendant, rendered during the mass post-election protests in Serbia, precisely at the time when the representatives of the authorities and the media close to the Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) organized an instigating campaign against the leadership of IJAV, accusing them of being the organizers of the protests.
As a result of this campaign, members of the leadership of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina received numerous death threats, which are reported to the police and the Prosecutor’s Office, but which have not yet been processed.
Journalists’ and media associations are wondering whether this verdict of the Court of Appeal is part of the same campaign.
The press and media associations to this case have informed national and international organizations for the protection of media freedom and human rights, and IJAV will use all domestic and international legal means to this shameful and scandalous verdict to be annulled.
Beograd-Novi Sad-Niš-Kragujevac, May 16th 2017
Independent Association of Journalists’ of Serbia (IJAS)
Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (IJAV)
Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM)
Association of Local Independent Media Local Press
Association of Online Media (AOM)