Press Council accepted our complaints!

July 15, 2023

The fight for a better media environment is long and difficult, but small wins along the way keep us motivated. 

After two mass shootings befell Serbia in just a few days in May, Media Diversity Institute Western Balkans warned of the harmful effects of unprofessional and sensationalist media coverage. 

A few hours after the shooting at „Vladislav Ribnikar“ elementary school in Belgrade, with the support of RDN, MDI WB published a statement, as a reminder to the media how to ethically report on crisis events. 

Not all media followed this piece of advice.

Due to that, 7 complaints were sent to the Press Council, in cooperation with the Council members and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM), regarding the reporting of the portals and, and the daily newspapers Večernje novosti, Informer, Alo, as well as two complaints to articles of Kurir

The Press Council of Serbia accepted all of these complaints during their last public session held on 29th of June.

Almost all complaints were related to the chapters of the Code of Journalists of Serbia which speak about the responsibility of journalists and respect for privacy. 

Most of the articles for which complaints were filed contained sensitive personal data about mostly minor victims and defendants, as well as extensive and disturbing details about the crime itself, along with the sensitive data from the case. 

Although this decision is positive news, we remind that the Press Council is an independent, self regulatory body which doesn’t have the power to sanction the media that breach the Code of Ethics.  

It relies on the willingness of the media outlets to report ethically and responsibly and to follow the directions of the Press Council.

That is why we celebrate the small win, but we are also aware of the long way ahead of us towards the responsible and professional media. We need all the support we can get on the way.