The courts which, beyond any legal logic and justice principle, jeopardise legitimate interests of legal entities with their rulings, must be open to legal criticism, the United Group (UG) says in its answer to Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic who commented on a Group's earlier public address, N1 reported on Wednesday.
The UG says its statement followed weird acting by a court which gave access to our competitors GSS and EURO World Network to classified SBB and City Media business information.
"After we expressed suspicion that the Commercial Court ruling legalised business espionage, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic tweeted: "Is this the only media group that uses its media influence to comment on court rulings, directly exercising pressure on Serbia's judiciary," the UG statement quoted Brnabic.
The company reminds all state officials in Serbia that according to the relevant international organisations and the European Commission (EC), the danger and pressure on the independence of the judiciary primarily comes from the top state leadership and not from private companies. Particularly not from one, if not the only, independent media.
The statement adds that the recently published EC report on Serbia explicitly says that the state should take the most serious steps to reduce "a high level of pressure on the judiciary."
It also warns state officials to restrain from public comments on ongoing investigations, court proceedings and individual judges and prosecutors.
It adds they should implement the rules which they brought to avoid "crossing the line" in commenting on courts' rulings. All that is needed to meet the obligations coming from the European integration process, especially from Chapter 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.
"The representatives of the executive power in Serbia constantly avoid comprehending the role of the media in a democratic society. That's why the EC report hasn't noticed "any progress" in the freedom of expression either. By addressing the public, the UG, as a private company, has exercised the right to free speech which includes public criticism of unjust courts' rulings and pointing at them. Not to influence the outcome of the proceedings but to make "the democratic control of the courts' work" possible," the Group statement said.
It adds that the UG will use all available means, both domestic and international, to defend its rights and legitimate interests.
N1 TV is a part of the United Group.