The Court of Appeal victory for Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK)

by ZS Law

Kruna Savović, Živković Samardžić Technology, Media and Telecommunications Partner and a Head of Media Litigation, led the Živković Samardžić team that has successfully represented the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), in appellate proceedings following the 2022 verdict of the Higher Court in Belgrade, in a case brought against KRIK by Bratislav Gašić, current Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs and the former director of the national intelligence agency BIA.

The case, considered by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and many others, as one of a dozen of SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) targeting KRIK, dealt with KRIK’s coverage of a trial against a local crime gang called “Jotka’s group” published in April 2021. Mr. Gašić claimed that the article damaged his honor and reputation since his name was mentioned in it, in a quote from the wiretapped conversation presented at the trial as the evidence, where an indicted member of the crime gang was heard to mention that “Jotka’s group” boss did not have to worry about his safety because “Gašić is at his cauldron”,  an expression that in criminal circles, as it was explained by the KRIK’s journalist, means that one person receives money from another.

The Court of Appeal in Belgrade decided to remand the case to the Higher Court in Belgrade for a retrial and clarified additionally that when conveying facts from public court hearings, the standard of due journalistic diligence would be met if the published content is in accordance with what was presented at the hearing, and if the media published what the attendees in the courtroom could see or hear.

Kruna Savović specializes in Media Law and Intellectual Property and is a trusted advisor to a number of national broadcast, print, and online media and their associations and an experienced media and intellectual property litigator. Kruna is a leading national freedom of expression expert and lectures and writes extensively on issues related to the harmonization of the Serbian legal framework governing the media sector with the European media freedom standards, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and the European Court of Justice.

You can find the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network’s report on the Court of Appeal’s decision in Serbian here.

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