In the course of days, through its media outlets, the powerful United Group has been pursuing a fierce campaign against Kurir and Telekom Serbia. Its striking force is the N1 television, which has in its reporting violated the Code of Journalists of Serbia several times.
Kurir therefore complained about the N1 portal to the Press Council, also because this media outlet published two statements of its owner in which it is groundlessly accusing Kurir of being unprofessional; however, while publishing these statements, they are doing the very same thing that they are accusing Kurir of. We filed a complaint only against the portal for the reasons of violation of the Code of Journalists of Serbia, of which this body is in charge, but not against the television which, if it was registered in Serbia, would fall under the competence of REM. The N1 television was registered in Luxembourg and is accountable before the regulator in that country, although the focus of its activity is in Serbia.
Without an imprint
The N1 portal does not have an imprint prescribed by the Law on Public Information and the Media, as it does not show the name of the editor-in-chief, which it should have according to law. It is stated that Jugoslav Ćosić is the news director and Nikola Stojić the website editor. Serbian legislation, however, does not recognise the function of a news director, but only of an editor-in-chief. The imprint of the portal also does not contain the registration number and data on the regulatory or supervisory body, which is stipulated as mandatory by law.
The newsroom of Kurir decided to file a complaint with the Press Council as a self-regulatory body, whose competence includes the respect of ethical rules of the journalistic profession. We filed complaints with the Council because N1 considers itself the chief holder of the right to the moral assessment of journalists, while at the same time it is doing the very thing of which it is accusing the media outlets it does not like.
Last Thursday, the N1 portal, by publishing the statement of its owner, the United Group company, accused Kurir that “by attacking this company it is justifying the poor results of Telekom”. This statement is a response of the United Group to the article published that day in Kurir, in which we examined the background of N1’s reporting about Telekom, which we could also call an “attack”.
By publishing the statement of its owner, the United Group, and not transmitting the claims from our article, N1, in our opinion, violated the rules of journalistic profession, which is the subject of our complaint with the Press Council.
In that statement, N1 also transmitted parts of answers which they sent to us, which we omitted in the article, because they do not represent the essence of answering our question, but are an advertisement of the United Group.
That this is the case is also confirmed by the new statement of the United Group, published on Saturday by the media owned by it, in which Kurir is accused of the purported attempt of blackmail. With the title “To publish the successes of the United Group, Kurir tries to blackmail”, they took one sentence from the answer of our editor, sent to them on their request to publish their answers in their entirety – based on this, they are claiming we tried to blackmail them, but they did not publish the entire answer, which clearly shows that it is no blackmail, but information that Kurir continues to retain the right to research their propaganda claims, which is the purpose of journalistic profession.
Kurir therefore decided to file complaints with the Press Council, because the United Media and N1 are accusing us of being unprofessional, while it is they who are not publishing important claims of our statements which would give to readers a different picture than the one presented by the United Group and N1.
They continued with a negative campaign Suggestive questions about Telekom
In the negative campaign against Telekom, the N1 television regularly consults a member of the Anti-Corruption Council Jelisaveta Vasilić, who is their regular guest. Two days ago she again spoke at the morning programme of this television, when the presenter was asking highly suggestive questions about Telekom's operation. For the sake of reminder, Vasilić compiled a report about the operation of this company, but the Council did not adopt it. This, however, did not prevent her from continuing to present this report, although not adopted, to the public, primarily in the media operating within the United Group, which is a direct market competitor to Telekom.