June 1, 2024

03.06.2024 – Judge in Serbia Sues KRIK for Reporting on Judiciary

A judge in Belgrade, Serbia has filed two lawsuits against KRIK (https://www.krik.rs/), investigative journalism organization and onilne portal. The lawsuits stem from KRIK’s “Judge the Judges” (Prosudi Ko Sudi – https://prosudikosudi.rs/) database, which aims to increase transparency within the Serbian judiciary by examining judges’ careers and assets, including this individual.

This judge claims KRIK’s reporting endangers her by allegedly helping criminals locate her. KRIK strongly disputes this, viewing the lawsuits as unprecedented pressure on media freedom and an attempt to prevent journalists from reporting on the judiciary’s work and integrity.

The judge and her lawyer husband, filed both civil and criminal suits against KRIK journalists Bojana Pavlović and editor-in-chief Stevan Dojčinović. According to Danas daily from Serbia, the civil lawsuit demands 760,000 RSD (approximately 6,500.00 EUR) in damages, while the criminal lawsuit seeks to imprison Pavlović and Dojčinović for ten months each and ban them from journalism for two years.

KRIK maintains that all published information was legally obtained and that no details could compromise the safety of judges or their families. The journalists reached out to this individual for her comments before publication, but she allegedly declined to respond.

Stevan Dojčinović, KRIK’s editor, sees the lawsuits as a major threat to press freedom in Serbia. According to Dojčinović, these lawsuits not only threaten KRIK but also the broader principle of transparency in the judiciary.

KRIK’s “Judge the Judges” database has published profiles of 51 judges, detailing their careers, significant cases, and assets.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the legal actions taken against the journalists of KRIK. Such actions undermine the essential role of the press in holding public officials accountable and threaten the fundamental principles of democracy. SEEMO will monitor this case.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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