Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Vecernje novosti Daily Discriminated against Roma

The Commissioner for Protection of Equality Established that Vecernje novosti Daily violated the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination by publishing the text “Disaster in Smederevo: Roma in Sexual Relation with a Girl” in the printed issue in March 2015.

Praxis filed a complaint to the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, stating that national affiliation of the suspected of committing a criminal act should not be mentioned, unless it is directly related to the type and nature of the committed criminal act. It was also stated that this text incites discrimination, hate and violence towards the members of the Roma nationality. To remind, on the same occasion did Praxis and Standing Conference of Roma Associations of Citizens SKRUG – The League of Roma lodge a complaint to the Appeals Commission of the Press Council. The Appeals Commission adopted the complaint and reached a decision that Vecernje novosti Daily had violated the Code of Ethics of Journalists of Serbia, precisely Item 1 of the chapter IV according to which a journalist shall oppose all those who violate human rights or who advocate any kind of discrimination, hate speech or incitement to violence, and Item 4 of the Chapter V according to which a journalist must be aware of the danger of discrimination that can be spread by media and shall do everything to avoid discrimination.

The Commissioners for Protection of Equality carried out the procedure in order to establish legally relevant facts. Therefore, the editor-in-chief of Vecernje novost Daily was asked for the opinion. However, the opinion about the complaint was not submitted.

The Commissioner for Protection of Equality reminded of professional and ethical standards related to raising the reputation of journalistic profession, promotion of freedom of opinion, speech and expression. Further in the opinion, it is stated that the “level of responsibility of Vecernje novosti Daily is even higher, given that it is newspapers with national circulation, distributed in the territory of the whole country, which affects the creation of public opinion, and is therefore obliged to take care about the publication of texts that promote prejudices and encourage hostile and offensive environment for certain social groups”. Finally, the Commissioner noted that media are “powerful means in spreading of tolerance, encouragement of the right to equality and suppression of discrimination, and that she is convinced that publication of the disputable text is the result of the lack of knowledge about international and national standards in the area of equality. She hopes and expects that Vecernje novosti Daily will intend, through texts they publish, to develop the awareness of equality of national minorities, particularly the Roma national minority which is very discriminated in our society”.

The Commissioner for Protection of Equality recommended that the editor-in-chief of Vecernje novosti Daily should not publish texts that are disturbing and humiliating towards the Roma national minority and take care not to violate the legal regulations on prohibition of discrimination within his regular activities.

Download: Complaint to the Commissioner for Protection of Equality
                Opinion of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality

Announcement published in the following media: Local Press

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