Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia expresses concern over the lawsuit of Bratislav Gasic, director of the Security Information Agency, in which he asks for half a million dinars from the KRIK editorial office, for publishing details of wiretapped conversations from the trial of Krusevac criminal clan chief Zoran Jotic Jotka.
Gasic claims that because of KRIK’s text “Political connections of the Krusevac criminal group: ‘Gasic at Jotka on the pot'”, he experienced mental and physical pain, but also that the court should “let the media know that borders exist and must be respect ”.
The text of KRIK itself conveys details from the trial of Zoran Jotic to Jotka and his associates, who are accused of murder, and in one part it is mentioned that “Bratislav Gasic is with him in a cauldron”, ie that he receives money from him.
The law stipulates that holders of public office are obliged to tolerate the expression of critical opinions, which relate to the results of his work, ie the policy he pursues, and is related to the performance of his function, regardless of whether he feels personally hurt by expressing those opinions.
IJAS also expresses concern over the numerous lawsuits against the media lately for something that is in the description of their work. This latest example in which the director of the Security Information Agency is suing an editorial office that investigates the connections between corruption, politics and crime sends a disturbing signal that the journalistic profession is facing a new-old form of stifling freedom of expression. A similar thing happened in the late 1990s at the highlight of the repression of the Milosevic regime.
The trend of “burying” the professional media with lawsuits obviously aims to narrow the already very narrow space of freedom of expression in Serbia.
We will certainly register this case in the Database of Attacks and Pressure on Journalists as well as in our regional database SafeJournalists.net, and inform international organizations.