Members of the Serbian Parliament Culture and Information Committee by a majority of votes refused the proposed agenda of the Committee’s Monday sitting at which they were to discuss the daily Informer’s interview with a serial rapist and other media-related issued, so the sitting was adjourned, said N1’s reporter.
Seven MPs voted in favor of the agenda, with nine voting against it.
Committee deputy chair Nebojsa Bakarec, from the ranks of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), accused Committee chair Sinisa Kovacevic, opposition People’s Party (NS) MP, of calling the sitting “in a shameful manner” and abusing and privatizing this Parliament body.
“You called the sitting over Informer reports, yet you did not react to the attacks and murder threats addressed to the President’s family, you even welcomed those,” said Bakarec, calling on all present to vote against the adoption of the agenda. “We never abused the Committee by calling a meeting over the media N1 and Nova S,” he added.
MP of the We Must – Together MP caucus Aleksandar “Cuta” Jovanovic tore up a copy of Informer at the sitting and urged Serbians to stop buying the daily.
Democratic Party (DS) MP Tatjana Manojlovic said MPs are expected to foster a culture of dialogue.
“Evidently the public was upset by the release of the rapist… But what happened in Informer wasn’t just in writing, there was also a video interview that upset and hurt not just his victims, but all victims of rape. It is important that we talk about all media who report in a tabloid manner,” said Manojlovic, adding that this topic “is above our political differences.”
Representatives of the Culture and Information Ministry were also invited to the meeting but failed to attend.
The United MP caucus last week submitted to Committee chair Kovacevic an initiative proposing that the publishing of the interview with serial rapist with multiple convictions be most strongly condemned and requesting an urgent Committee meeting on the matter.
The pro-regime tabloid Informer published an interview with convicted rapist Igor Milosevic following which protest were staged outside Informer offices in Belgrade.