Zoran Pasalic, Serbia’s Ombudsman, told N1 on Monday he didn’t see a need to react to the attacks on journalists working with Crime and Corruption Reporting Network, KRIK, because he did not seek popularity and because his statement would not prevent such attacks.
The attacks on KRIK reporters linking it to a criminal gang prompted several media organisations to leave the Government’s Working Group for Protection of Journalists since it failed to condemn that.
Pasalic said that if those attacks were a crime, it wasn’t his job; if that was slander, courts should deal with it.
He added that everybody’s right was to take part or leave any group or job. His role was to finish the platform that would register all pressures, attacks, and discrediting attempts against journalists and media outlets.
Vukasin Obradovic, former head of the Independent Association of Serbia’s Journalists (NUNS), described Pasalic’s reaction as ‘unbelievable.’
“I think it is simply beyond comprehension that a man who wants to protect journalists believe he should not react in this case. A man who organises media organisations for their protection thinks he should be silent about everything regarding the attacks on KRIK,” Obradovic told N1.
Many media organisations from the world and diplomats condemned the statements linking KRIK journalists to the criminal group led by recently arrested Veljko Belivuk, suspected of abductions and murders.