May 9, 2023

09.05.2023 – Unprofessional Reporting Harms Victims and Incites Further Violence

Serbian Press Coucil (savet za stampu) and several child rights organizations called on journalists and editors to report on the recent tragic events with professionalism and true empathy while respecting the rights and privacy of all those affected by the tragedy. The organisations emphasized that responsible reporting is crucial for the affected children, adults, and the whole society to confront the trauma and prevent the escalation of violence. They expressed concern over the lack of basic reporting standards and the violation of the rights, privacy, and dignity of children and crime victims by some media outlets. The journalists were reminded of the Serbian Code of Journalists, which prohibits the transmission of private information that may reveal the identity of the perpetrator or victim, even if the relevant authorities have released such details.

The Press Council of Serbia urged journalists to adhere to ethical and professional norms and avoid sensationalism while reporting on traumatic events that could harm survivors and victims’ families and provoke more violence. The media are advised to report on ways to protect mental health, provide expert advice, and include contact information for organizations that can assist in such situations.

Eight children and a security guard were killed, while six children and one teacher were wounded during a school shooting at the elementary school “Vladislav Ribnikar” in the Serbian capital Belgrade on Wednesday 3 May 2023. A 13 years old child suspected of carrying out the attack was arrested. Just a day after this tragic incident on Thursday 4 May,2023, another tragedy has occurred. The incident took place near Mladenovac, a municipality on the outskirts of Belgrade, when a 21 old person fired from a moving vehicle. Eight people were killed and 13 were injured in a shooting.

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