Novakovic: The code of journalists is intentionally violated, the tabloids compete in publishing bloody details
(Source: Beta) Secretary General of the Press Council Gordana Novakovic said that this independent, self-regulatory body received 165 complaints in 2020, twice as many as a year earlier, and in most cases the Journalist’s Code of Ethics of Serbia was violated and the citizens who complained were right.
“Since the Press Council started working, the complaints mostly refer to the violation of the first chapter of the Journalist’s Code – Truthfulness of reporting. It is the publication of misinformation, inaccurate, unverified information, from only one or no source, unfounded accusations, slander and rumors. That is how it has been since the Council started working, and during 2020, more than 60 decisions of the Complaints Commission referred to violations of these provisions of the Code,” Novakovic told the Beta agency.
As she pointed out, the number of complaints is still incomparably smaller than the number of violations determined through the monitoring that the Press Council has been conducting for five years, by following eight dailies with national coverage.
“Some don’t know that they can contact us, or they are discouraged, they think they can’t achieve anything with that and they just want to forget that they were written about as soon as possible. From the communication with some, I also concluded that they are afraid to initiate any procedure against the media because they think that they will write about them even worse, that they will be called out in a series of texts from day to day “, stated Novaković.
A large number of complaints sent to the Press Council, Novakovic said, also refer to the non-publication of the correction, “which is completely incomprehensible, especially considering that it is a legal obligation, not only according to the Journalist Code, but the media often ignore that obligation ”.
The impression of the Complaints Commission is, she pointed out, that in not a small number of cases, the media knowingly and intentionally violate the Code, especially in the part that refers to the truthfulness of reporting.
She stated that “there are frequent campaigns against certain people, so a series of texts is published, day after day, repeating the same unproven accusations and slander, without even allowing them to answer anything.”
Speaking about monitoring, she stated that the total number of violations of the journalistic code last year was lower than the previous year, which, along with the interpretation, will be announced next week, when the results are planned to be presented.
As she reminded, in the period July-December 2019, in which the monitoring was done, a total of 5,057 texts were recorded in all observed papers, which violated the Code of Journalists of Serbia.
She stated that the most common violation, even according to the latest monitoring, is disrespect of the presumption of innocence, followed by violation of the right to privacy.
When asked about the different attitude of the media towards the journalistic code, she pointed out that the newspapers Danas and Politika have the fewest violations since they were monitored, and in comparison with others, their violations are essentially at the level of statistical error.
“List Alo has been an infamous champion for the last three or four years, they are always in the first place. “Kurir, Informer and Srpski Telegraf took turns in the next three places,” said Novakovic.
As she added, the impression is that there is an unhealthy competition among the media, especially when it comes to sections dealing with the black chronicle.
There is a rule of who will go worse, bloodier, with as many disgusting details as possible. That ladder is constantly rising, so there is practically no tragedy, murder, traffic accident, anything like that, and you can single out five texts about that in which the code was respected. And that is also when it comes to the manner of reporting on victims and possible perpetrators “, said Novaković.
He adds that journalists justify such an approach with the words “so everyone else has it, I can’t help it, what the editor will tell me”, and the editors say that their audience likes to read it.
She also pointed out that there is a “constant violation of ethics, the culture of public speech by broadcasting reality shows in newspapers.”