The Telenor mobile services provider sued N1's program director and portal editor and the Adria News company over what it claims is a negative campaign over its deal with the state-owned Telekom Serbia.
The law suit was filed on February 5 at the Higher Court in Belgrade against N1 Program Director Jugoslav Cosic, N1 Portal editor Nikola Stojic and the Adria News production company. Telenor is demanding 113,235,628 Dinars (1 Euro – 118 dinars) or almost a million Euro in damages.
Telenor’s law suit claims that N1 TV and portal published a large amount of untrue information about it and its planned business deal with Telekom Serbia, claiming that a negative media campaign was being waged which allegedly inflicted huge material damage. Telenor also filed a request for a temporary ban on the publication of virtually all information and comments on the planned Telekom-Telenor cooperation pending the outcome of the law suit and with the threat of a fine of 300,000 Dinars for any information published. The Higher Court rejected that demand and Telenor appealed the ruling.
The Telenor law suit, especially the temporary ban is a harsh assault on freedom of the media to report on an issue which is certainly of public importance. The amount demanded in damages by Telenor shows the company’s unequivocal intention to intimidate and discourage journalists.
N1 TV has reported on the Telenor deal with Telekom Serbia in line with the highest standards of journalism and has provided opportunity for all relevant players, including Telenor to present their views on the issue.