Friday, November 24, 2017

szs logoAt the last session of the Press Council Commission, held on June 29, 2017, members of the Commission unanimously passed decisions that the Informer, Alo and Vecernje Novosti daily newspapers violated the Code of Journalists of Serbia with the articles regarding the introduction of new criminal offenses of sexual harassment and stalking. The provisions of the Serbian Code of Journalists violated with the articles in these daily newspapers refer to Authenticity of Reporting, Independence from Pressure and Journalists’ Attention. The Vecernje Novosti and Alo dailies were obliged to publish the decision of the Press Council, and the Informer daily, which had not accepted the jurisdiction of this self-regulatory body, received a public warning.

In its complaints, Autonomous Women's Center stated that in all three cases the Code was violated by the very titles of the articles: “WOMANIZERS, CAUTION, FROM NOW ON INTENSE COURTSHIP SENDS YOU TO JAIL: We are discovering everything about the new provisions of the Criminal Code!" (Online edition of the Informer, May 29), “THE NEW LAW: Courtship might send you to jail” (online edition of the Alo daily, May 30, 2017), and “Courtship will empty your pockets” (Vecernje novosti, May 31) because the public was misled into believing that courtship was a criminal offense, while in fact it is sexual harassment.

Besides the titles, the complaints refer to the statements of certain psychiatrists and sexologists, as well as the inaccurate interpretations of the provisions of the Criminal Code, thus giving the public an inaccurate picture of criminal acts of stalking and sexual harassment.

Autonomous Women's Center uses the opportunity to draw attention to the media which report on the issue of violence against women that their role in how the public will deal with this social problem is extremely important. Therefore, we appeal that this issue, as all the others, is given due journalist attention, and that reporting is professionally and socially responsible.