Minister apologizes for "disgraceful and scandalous" remark

Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic was visiting a defense industry factory in Trstenik on Sunday when he remarked he "liked journalists who kneel easily."

Source: B92

As journalists were waiting for the minister to approach them and make a statement, some of them, including a B92 correspondent, crouched to keep out of the field of view of cameras.

When Gasic arrived, he asked whether his ministry's spokesman "kept them outdoors the whole time," and then said, using the feminine noun for "journalist" in Serbian: "I so like these journalists who kneel this easily."

This was recorded by reporters, and soon posted online, including on YouTube.

The minister then proceeded to make his statements after the visit to the Petoletka factory in the usual manner.

The remark has met with numerous condemnations, including from Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection Rodoljub Sabic, who posted on Twitter, "Truly, even for our circumstances, an incredible statement."

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic also reacted late on Sunday saying Gasic's behavior was disgraceful and inexcusable, and that "the responsibility will be reexamined."

The minister himself issued a statement a little before 23:00 on Sunday, saying he was apologizing to the journalist and Serbian public, and that there was no excuse for his remark and his "shameful and scandalous behavior."

This is not the first time that Gasic has made controversial comments in his exchanges with reporters. Several months ago he asked a TV Vranje journalist "why she wasn't a member of the SNS" - the ruling party he belongs to.

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