Journalist, officials react to police questioning editors

Journalists at the police - but not for a press conference, where they would ask Interior Ministry's top officials about their work.

Source: B92

Instead, they are the persons being questioned.

All this is taking place along with a series of statements from the ruling parties about what is the job of journalists is, and whether they are allowed to ask who is being questioned by the prosecution.

"I think it must not become acceptable for any asking of questions or any expression of opinions that could possibly be somewhat different than the kind someone likes, to serve as an opportunity to accuse that person of attacking the system, the government, of lying, " said Dragan Janjic of the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, NUNS.

Add to this the reaction of state television RTS journalist Olivera Kovacevic, who commented on which editors had been asked to make a statement to the police, and which had not - and there's room for a strong reaction of the parties in power. For the leaders of the ruling coalition, her comment was "a brutal political interference" in the work of the prosecution.

SNS MP Zoran Babic said the reason his party was issuing statements against those journalists who criticize the actions of government in order to "defend principles and institutions." Also, Babic said that he did not understand why some things not allowed to politicians are allowed "to others."

"In a multi-party system parties comment on anything they want, talk about whatever they want, they state their position on the holders and the public word and everything else, whatever they want and what you think they should, of course, within boundaries of the law," said Minister Aleksandar Vulin.

President of the Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) Ljiljana Smajlovic says it is not heresy for the police to question journalists - if there is suspicion that an offense has been committed, but points out that the state did not explain why some editors-in-chief have been questioned.

"You cannot say that if expresses an opinion about something, as Olivera Kovacevic did, that is a brutal interference in the work of investigative authorities. It is an expression, we can sometimes say, of a political opinion, but journalists have the right to a political opinion," said Smajlovic.

None of the top people of RTS reacted to the ruling party's comments about Kovacevic's statement. The same was true a month ago, when similar reactions followed after Danas editor-in-chief Zoran Panovic was a guest on a program.

Politics

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