Minister on weekly's offensive front page: Disgraceful

Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Gender Equality Coordination Body Zorana Mihajlovic has condemned the front page of Ilustrovana Politika weekly.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Such a cover story, she said, invites violence.

At the same time, Mihajlovic denied the allegation that top state officials supports the publication of such content in the media.

"It's disgraceful, by publishing such a front page, the question is how to talk about a tolerant society if we have such things in the media," Mihajlovic told reporters in the Palace of Serbia. As she assessed, this is a call for violence against which we all need to fight together.

"We all need to condemn it, but also to work together to make such things no longer happen, because it sends a bad message in relation to what we want to do as a state," said the deputy prime minister.

Asked by reporters about the claims made by the Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists - that the editors of Ilustrovana Politika had a tacit permission from the state top to publish a number of articles in which the Commission's members were insulted, and that the state reacted only in the case of the last one and the front page story, "The hounds are unleashed" - Mihajlovic stressed that there was absolutely no state support for anything that constitutes violence, and that she is unaware of any member of the current government who supported it.

"It's a call to violence and we do not support it. Whether or not someone likes or dislikes what a particular journalist writes, is one part of the story. I also reacted when it comes to the Studio B journalist - it's one thing to like the editorial policy of a media outlet, and another to insult people and publish violent front pages," concluded Mihajlovic.

Journalist Ljiljana Smajlovic and the president of the Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists, Veran Matic, are shown inappropriately in an illustration on the weekly's front page, "accompanied" by US Ambassador Kyle Scott.

The Ministry of Culture and Information criticized this, saying on Tuesday they "regretted that the new front page is not according to the standards of good taste, either."

Also on Tuesday, President Aleksandar Vucic condemned the insults and threats directed at Studio B's Barbara Zivotic - for her reporting from an opposition protest last weekend in Belgrade - as well as attacks on Ljiljan Smajlovic and Veran Matic.

Veran Matic said in a statement earlier in the day Ilustrovana Politika's campaign, led by adviser to Editor-in-Chief Goran Kozic and external associate Djordje Martic, had been ongoing for a month.

Late on Tuesday, Kozic announced that he had stepped down "from all editorial posts in the Politika company."

"I have concluded that my approach to editing newspapers in unacceptable," Kozic wrote in a statement sent to Tanjug, and added:

"I apologize to everyone I have offended or humiliated with my way of writing. I apologize to my family, to my children, and to top state (officials)."

The weekly's latest front page:

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