In two days, over 400 people in Serbia, mostly the folk singers and ruling coalition politicians, signed a petition defending President Aleksandar Vucic from 'media war led by N1, Nova.rs, KRIK investigative website…"
The signatories of the ‘Petition for a decisive defence of President Aleksandar Vucic’ reputation from media was led against him by political and interest groups in the country and neighbourhood and media under their control,’ also include over 30 public companies’ CEOs, according to the independent Danas daily.
Vucic and Vulin denied any links to the organised criminal group allegedly led by the leader of the Partizan FC supporters’ Veljko Belivuk and his closest ally Marko Miljkovic whose testimonies were published by some media, which said they should be taken with caution since those suspected of the murders, kidnapping, torturing, raping, grinding human bodies could lie.
The petition was launched a couple of days after the two suspected leaders of a criminal group gave statements to the police alleging their links to Vucic, Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin and some other high-ranked officials
Serbia’s Bar Association warned that attorney-client conversation was privileged and demanded a probe into whether the law was violated if the interrogation room was bugged.
Bozo Prelevic, a lawyer, told the N1 morning programme that there were neither the defence nor the legal system in Serbia if the Bar Association’s demand to establish the authenticity and the origin of the transcripts was ignored.
Among the politicians who stood in Vucic’s defence were Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic, Vucic’s leading coalition partner, the head of Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar, a member of President’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).
Sanda Raskovic Ivic, an opposition politician, told Nova S TV that the Prosecutors for Organised Crime should take statements from Vucic and Vulin, adding that if the two suspected criminals mentioned links with anyone from the opposition, they would have been summoned in 15 minutes.
Asked which media take part in violating Vucic’s reputation, Vulin’s advisor Svetozar Vujacic, said: „To be open and honest – N1, Nova S and KRIK… All those who published what Miljkovic said about me, for example.“
Aleksandar Djurdjev, who launched the petition on behalf of a little-known organisation the Institute for Political Networking, and one of the signatories, said the petition was not motivated by the statements but was ready days before they were published.
People who N1 talked to said that if the head of state needed defence, it should be the job of the respective country’s institutions.
„The logic says that the (public)prosecutor defends the President if an investigation proves the accusations of the arrested criminals are not true,“ the Danas editor-in-chief Draza Petrovic said.
„Here, different people from folk singers and influencers, many inconspicuous people, launch a counter-offensive to defend President’s reputation from the statement of two men suspected of heinous crimes,“ he added.
Vanja Bulic, a journalist whose name was among the petition signatories, told N1 he had not signed anything. After that, his name was taken off the list.