Serbian journalists on Wednesday called for the forming of an independent commission to investigate cases of surveillance over the media.
A debate organized by the Serbian Journalists’ Association (UNS) heard that there is less solidarity among journalists today than there was in the 1990s.
Nedeljnik editor in chief Veljko Lalic told the gathering that he doubts that the public will ever learn how Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin gained access to an unpublished article. Vulin made fierce comments against the article that his predecessor Dragan Sutanovac offered to Nedeljnik. The article was never published. Lalic said that the job of journalists was compromised, adding that the job of a journalist is to find and publish state secrets and not the other way around.
NIN weekly journalist Vuk Cvijic said that he had been under surveillance illegally while journalists Ljiljana Smajlovic and Veran Matic said they learned that they had been under surveillance when that measure had been lifted. Cvijic added that the Serbian security services are still being used to single out journalists as the enemy.
Lawyer Zdenko Tomanovic said that the Nedeljnik case led him to believe that journalists would show greater solidarity. “If journalists keep quiet, public opinion is in doubt and without that there is no freedom for any individual,” he said.