Serbia's Press Council said on Wednesday that in the second half of last year there were 5,057 breaches of the Journalist's Code of Ethics in the country's print media, adding the trend was increasing, the Beta news agency reported.
"The tabloid Alo! tops this infamous list," Petar Jeremic, a journalist, said, adding it was followed by other tabloids like Kurir, Srpski Telegraf, Informer, Blic, Vecernje Novosti, while the number of violations in Politika and Danas dailies was "insignificant."
Tamara Skrozza, a member of the Press Council' s Complaint Commission, said the presumption of innocence had been regularly violated which led to "a person convicted in advance" by media was freed in judicial proceedings.
According to her, when the initials of a person were published, they were often followed by other data – like a house, company, neighbours' statements - which pointed at that person's identity, what was illegal.
Skrozza said that there was an increased number of articles in which some unfounded assumptions were presented as facts by unanimous sources, what was the most obvious during "a show-down on the political scene."
She added that it wasn't rare that a headline did not correspond with the article's content, or that commercial adds were not marked as such.
The Council said there were fewer complaints than violations since people hesitated to report them either because they feared more confrontation with that media or because of the lack of sanctions.
"Some media often don't publish our decision," Gordana Novakovic, the Press Council's Secretary-General, said.