Publication Journalists and media in court 2015-2017 was created within the project Judicial relations towards media freedom. The objective of the project is to provide support to journalists, the media and the judiciary through monitoring and analyzing media practices against journalists and the media, identifying the challenges that arise in the implementation of the law, and pointing out the need to harmonize domestic case-law and its harmonization with international standards in the area of freedom of expression and media freedom.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, during 2017, monitored court cases against journalists and the media. The selection of items monitored was based on the response to questionnaires sent to over 500 media and media associations. Special attention was paid to the possibility of monitoring cases outside of Belgrade regarding the freedom of the media, as well as cases in which prosecutors are public officials or close people.
Based on the answers from the questionnaire, besides Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac were selected as cities that were given special attention when collecting data for analysis. The analysis covers civil, criminal and misdemeanor procedures, procedures for economic offences, as well as proceedings before the Administrative and Constitutional Court, in which journalists and the media can appear as parties.
The judiciary and the media have a common control role that they should have in relation to state authority. In practice, however, through the influence on the choice of the holders of judicial functions and the control of media funding, state authority is the one that exercises a strong influence on them. In relation to the judiciary and the media, we can see how the state government uses control levers to build and maintain mutual distrust, with the intention of preventing these two institutions from achieving their full democratic potential through their mutual cooperation and assuming their own roles in the brakes and balance system.