The Serbian Journalist’s Code of Ethics violated in 2,286 articles during three months
(Source: UNS) – From July to September this year, the Journalist’s Code of Ethics was violated in 2,286 articles published in Serbian newspapers. In the first place by number of violations is the newspaper “Alo”, followed by “Kurir”, “Srpski Telegraf” and “Informer”, was said today in Belgrade at a Deutsche Welle Academie round table.
“The Journalist’s Code of Ethics was violated in July in 791 articles, in August in 762, and in September in 733,” said journalist Petar Jeremic, who is involved in Press Council monitoring of the compliance with the Serbian Journalist’s Code of Ethics by print media. He added that after these four newspapers, the Blic newspaper has violated by the journalist’s code most.
The champions of respect of the Code, Jeremic said, are the newspapers Politika and Danas, which is proof that newspapers can respect the Code.
Member of the Press Council Complaints Commission, journalist Tamara Skrozza, who also participates in the monitoring, emphasized that in each of the 2,286 articles the code was violated several times and that the same tabloids, as in the previous period, lead in contempt of the Code.
“These four newspapers are champions of violations. Since we started monitoring, there have been record-breaking months with about 600 violations, but for the second year in a row, it’s not uncommon for that number to exceed 700,” said Skrozza.
Skrozza and Jeremic particularly highlighted texts that violated the Journalist’s Code of Ethics from August to September this year, mentioning children, thereby endangering their rights to privacy.
“In the first place there is ’Kurir’ with 71 violations, in the second ‘Alo’ with 62 violations, followed by ‘Vecernje Novosti’ with 36 violations,” Jeremic said.
“The rights of children are most often violated in the articles pertaining to crime, when a tragedy occurs and when the media discover details that may hurt a child. It is not necessary to go into details, in an article, by which a child can be identified in a small environment,” Jeremic emphasized.
He said that since 2016, the rights of the daughter of the killed singer Jelena Marjanovic has been violated numerous times. “That child was devastated by what the media reported. It is not yet proven that her father is the murderer, nor that it is her grandfather. Imagine how her relationship with her family will develop, because all that the news media reports remain on record,” he explained.
Skrozza stressed that media that violate the Journalist’s Code of Ethics always show the same tendencies in articles that mention children – revealing their privacy, identity of the minor, and their family life.
“What has been happening in the last two years, and especially in the last month, is that the media treat children of public figures as public figures. I have to tell my colleagues – they are not public figures,” Skrozza said.
She stressed that recently, especially in the last month, it has been noticed that there is a tendency for the use of data about children for political purposes.
“There is a growing use of children for political purposes by the media. This is important to say because of the election period ahead. According to our laws, if a child shows up for a political, semi-political and para-political rally, the parent should give their written permission,” she explained.
“The fact that politicians abuse children do not mean that they should be abused by the media as well. If a senior government official goes to a kindergarten, children’s oncology department, or to a place where children welcome him, the faces of those children should not be published by the media because it is a violation of their right to privacy,” she explained.
Jeremic specified that the “Kurir” and “Alo” newspapers are leading in violation of children’s rights.
“The ‘Srpski Telegraf’ and ‘Informer’, which have tabloid editorial policies, do not address these topics and the number of articles violating children’s rights is drastically smaller,” said Jeremic.