The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is worried by inconveniences caused by slow court decisions throughout the South and East European region.
In recent years, a number of journalists involved in court cases have experienced ongoing problems due to slow court decisions, which in certain cases have been pending for as long as nearly two decades. This places in question the fairness of trials.
On a related note, journalists in South and East Europe are often ordered to pay fines manifestly out of proportion to their salaries. And as a result of the slowness of the court systems, court costs can sometimes be extremely high.
One such case involves journalist Danko Plevnik in Croatia, who according to a court decision on 14 July 2010, was fined 135,208.90 Kuna (around 20,000 EUR). The case started more than18 years ago on 28 February 1992, when a company sued him for the current equivalent of 150 EUR, and he sued the company over a unilaterally severed working contract
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: “In order to resolve legal disputes it is very important to step up court decisions in a generally less contentious, less costly and, especially, less time-consuming way. Stalling the court decision can create a huge problem for journalists, leaving them with delayed resolutions to their struggles.”