International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Serbia’s KRIK: We won’t be discouraged with regime’s SLAPP lawsuits

December 8, 2021
Crime and Corruption Reporting Network, KRIK, said on Wednesday it was swamped with lawsuits filed against them, mostly by people in power of businessmen close to the regime, but it added would not be intimidated and would continue its work.
A total value of ten procedures currently underway is 90 million dinars (some 765,000 euros), three times more than KRIK’s annual budget. One lawsuit includes a demand for jail time for journalists, KRIK has said.
„That is a big pressure on our staff, and I think they are SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) lawsuits, an attempt to silence and shut down KRIK,“ Stevan Dojcinovic, the editor-in-chief, said.
The list of those suing KRIK’s journalists and editors includes a man charged with drug production, the head of the state security BIA agency, police chiefs, tycoons close to the Government, people on Interpol wanted lists,  President Aleksandar Vucic’s friend, a pro-Government tabloid’s publisher and an international corporation, KRIK added.
„The lawsuits follow each other, and in the previous month, KRIK was sued once a week. Most of the plaintiffs are linked to President Aleksandar Vucic or people close to him. That indicates the goal is not to satisfy justice but to stifle the media. In most cases, they did not send any warning, did not ask for denials, nor did they contact us with a request for corrections. They mostly refused to talk to the journalists before the story was published; they refused to give us a comment and usually just hung up. Every lawsuit represents a great burden for the KRIK 14-member-strong editorial board,“ the statement added.
According to KRIK, court proceedings take a lot of time for editors and journalists to prepare a response to a lawsuit, testify, attend hearings…  For example, lawsuits in current cases against KRIK, with accompanying documents, have a total of more than 500 pages that need to be analysed and answered.
„It’s a serious threat to our work, but they will not intimidate or stop us – we will continue to report on those who sued us,“ he added.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/krik-we-wont-be-discouraged-with-serious-of-regimes-slapp-lawsuits/

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