SafeJournalists Network condemns legal actions against KRIK

NEWS 18.06.202414:11

The SafeJournalists (SJ) Network on Tuesday condemned the legal actions filed by Judge Dusanka Djordjevic and her husband against the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), its editor-in-chief Stevan Dojcinovic and journalist Bojana Pavlovic.

The statement signed by SJ and Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) said that these legal actions are aimed at silencing KRIK for its investigative work.

The lawsuits followed KRIK’s publication of Judge Dusanka Djordjevic and her husband’s profile on the “Judge Who Judges” database on 24 January 2024. Launched in 2021, this database is a public source monitoring information on the Serbian judiciary.

Under the civil lawsuit, the judge and her husband are requesting the court to rule that their privacy rights have been violated, and demand that the information be removed from the database. Failure to do so could result in KRIK being fined 100 euros for every day the content is not removed.

They are seeking damages of approximately 6,500, as well as coverage of their legal costs.

The plaintiffs have also filed a private criminal lawsuit accusing the media and journalists of committing the criminal offence of Unauthorized Collection of Personal Data.

They have asked the court to find the media outlet and journalists guilty and sentence them to imprisonment of 10 months each. They are also asking for the journalists to be banned from practicing their profession for two years.

“These disproportionate demands represent a serious attempt to silence KRIK’s investigation work of public interest,” said SJ and MFRR in their statement.

The SJ Network and MFRR urged judges to refrain from abusive lawsuits, as such practices have a dangerous chilling effect on journalists and media outlets in Serbia.

At the same time, they called on the Serbian government to swiftly implement the EU anti-SLAPP directive and include provisions for domestic cases to prevent such legal attacks in the future.