Živković Samardžić secures Press Council victory against Politika

by ZS Law

Živković Samardžić, one of the Serbia’s leading full-service independent law firms, successfully represented Mr. Veran Matić, Chairman of the Commission for investigating killings of journalists, whose complaint about an article published by “Politika”, considered to be Serbia’s newspaper of record, was upheld by the Press Council on 29 June 2017.

The 19 May 2017 article was a commentary authored by Mr. Djordje Martić, a former editor in chief of daily newspaper “Politika ekspres”. Mr. Martić was at the helm of now defunct daily once it published its 5 April 1999 commentary titled “Ćuruvija Greeted the Bombs” accusing a prominent journalist Slavko Ćuruvija of being happy about the fact that Serbia suffered daily NATO air raids at the time.

Radomir Marković, former head of the State Security Service, Milan Radonjić and Ratko Romić, both formerly employed by the State Security Service, and Miroslav Kurak, who is still at large, were indicted for Ćuruvija’s murder in 2014 and are on trial since 1 June 2015. Mr. Martić, in his 19 May 2017 commentary, besides trying to justify his 1999 decision to publish the commentary that is considered as part of the groundwork for the murder, argues that Ćuruvija represented no threat to Milošević’s regime in 1999, but rather to than opposition leader, Zoran Djindjić. Mr. Djindjić, who was the Prime Minister of Serbia from 2001, was also assassinated in 2003.

Živković Samardžić client, Mr. Veran Matić filed a complaint after “Politika” failed to publish a reply by the Commission for investigating killings of journalists to Martić’s 19 May 2017 commentary. The Press Council held that “Politika”, in publishing Martić’s  commentary, breached several clauses of the Section I (Accuracy), Section IV (Journalists’ Responsibilities) and Section V (Journalists’ due diligence) of the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics, and required, as a remedial action, the publication of its decision in the newspaper.

The Press Council is an independent, self-regulatory body that brings together publishers, owners of print and online media, news agencies and media professionals. It has been established for monitoring the observance of the Journalists’ Code of Ethics, solving complaints made by individuals and institutions related to media content.

Živković Samardžić team successfully representing Veran Matić was led by Kruna Savović, Technology, Media and Telecommunications Senior Associate and Miloš Stojković, Technology, Media and Telecommunications Associate.

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