Commissioner reacts to media reporting in child murder case

The commissioner for Information of Public Importance will carry out supervision over the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP), it was announced on Wednesday.

Source: B92, Beta

Rodoljub Sabic will work to determine how the media obtained the details from the investigation into the recent rape and murder of a child, the 3-year-old A.S. from the village of Vratarnica in eastern Serbia.

These details have been published in a number of daily newspapers, Sabic said, announcing that the public will be informed about the facts he determines, and measures to be taken, once the supervisory activity has been completed.

Sabic said in a statement that "a series of circumstances related to the reporting about the case" point out not only to a serious breach of journalistic and ethical standards that offend the dignity of the victim, her family, and the public - but that violations of several laws may also have occurred.

According to Sabic, considering that the articles in question suggest their authors have had access to investigative activities, records, and even the autopsy report, the laws that could have been violated include those on the protection of personal data, the media, the Criminal Code, and the Code on Criminal Proceedings.

He noted that this suggests other relevant institutions, beside his office, should also react.

Sabic at the same time urged the authorities, the Prosecution, and the MUP to finally activate those provisions of the Criminal Code that have so far "to all intents and purposes" not been applied.

In a message posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Sabic quoted from one of the media he criticized - who apparently reported that the suspect said he "raped his victim even when she was dead." In the same tweet, Sabic asked "if journalists were fabricating such 'news' or if their sources were state organs treating the suspect."

He then asked, "Which of the two is worse?"

The Ministry of Information on Tuesday issued a statement of its own, appealing on journalists and editors to "immediately" stop their sensationalist reporting.

The statement further "insists" that self-regulatory and regulatory bodies must react without delay to all instances of sensationalist reporting that disturb the public and inflict additional pain to the families of the victims, and interfere with the official investigation.


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