The Autonomous Women's Center addressed today four complaints to the Press Council against the daily newspapers Serbian Telegraph, Informer, Alo and Courier, regarding the reporting on the case of the abduction of minor Monica K. We remind that named daily newspapers published on the front pages in a sensational way the statements of the suspect Ninoslav Jovanovic, sharing details about the crime committed against Monica K.

We believe that such reporting significantly and repeatedly violated the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics; several provisions in several chapters have been violated - I Authenticity of Reporting, IV Journalists’ Responsibilities, V Journalists’ Attention, VI Relation to the Sources of Information, and Chapter VII Respect for Privacy. We also think that in this way not only the dignity of a minor victim has been violated, but this type of reporting is traumatizing for all other victims of violence, and it causes stigma and distrust in society in general.

At the same time, the Autonomous Women's Center appealed to the Press Council to consider accepting other, future complaints from organizations dealing with the problem of violence against women and children, and in situations where they complain about content relating to specific events and persons for which they do not have approval from those persons. We remind that the media published news about specific cases more frequently (79%) than the phenomenon of violence against women (21%), and that more than 70% of reports of violence against women contained unethical elements, as shown in the analysis of media reports about violence against women made by the group Female Journalists Against Violence against Women, for the period 1.1.2019. to 6.30.2019. Knowing that the media coverage of these cases has far-reaching consequences, not only for those victims (whose position is specific to other persons, especially in terms of secondary traumatization), but to all possible victims, as well as the society in general, we consider it important for organizations specialized in this issue to be able to complain.

Due to all of the above, we demanded the Press Council to examine whether such media coverage violated the mentioned provisions of the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics and to act timely in accordance with its responsibilities.

Documents are available in Serbian language on the foloowing links: