Through its media outlets and associates, the United Group continued to pursue a campaign against Kurir. After they accused us of an attempt of blackmail in their statement of Saturday, full of strawman argument and manipulation of facts, they have now, in their new attack, involved a member of the Anti-Corruption Council Jelisaveta Vasilić, in respect of whom our paper published that she is suspected of being in a conflict of interest. They published in entirety her statement against Kurir, without stating what Kurir wrote about.
They violate the Code again
Jelisaveta Vasilić, whose daughter, as Kurir revealed, works for a media outlet owned by the United Group, claims, by denigrating our paper, that she is not in a conflict of interest and that she does not even know where her daughter works, what the United Group is, and whether this company is Telekom’s competitor. Reacting to the article in which it is revealed that she is in a possible conflict of interest as she publicly expresses attitudes accusing Telekom, she sent a statement to our newsroom on Sunday at 17.12 hrs.
Without waiting for us to publish it, although the deadline to complete the newspaper already expired, she sent the same statement to the media owned by the United Group (and she does not know what it is?!), which immediately published it. While N1 and media outlets of the United Group published her statement in entirety, they reduced our article to a single sentence, whereby these media outlets once again violated the ethical rules of the journalistic profession, while presenting themselves as an impeccable moral inquisition which judges others for the violation of the same rules.
In her statement, Jelisaveta Vasilić claims that she does not even read Kurir and does not know what kind of a paper it is, saying that the journalists of our house are incompetent as she does not know whether they graduated from university. Vasilić claims that she is not in a conflict of interest because, according to law, she is not a public official, and the provisions of the law governing the conflict of interest do not apply to her. She also claims that journalists should not even ask her whether she is in a conflict of interest and that they should not have any dilemma about it because they did not even make an effort to read the acts of the Anti-Corruption Council which is, as she says, merely an advisory body. She states that the Council does not perform public functions which would violate the public interest in favour of the private interest and that, on the contrary, it helps, with its advice only, that rule of law be introduced in the country.
Having her allegations in mind, a logical question is posed whether Jelisaveta Vasilić is competent at all to prepare a report about Telekom as she does not know what company is its greatest competitor, and why she expresses her attitudes, before the Council’s official report, which correspond to the attitudes advocated by the media within the United Group. Even greater doubts about her (un)objectivity are raised in respect of her statement in which she claims that “four Council’s members did not vote for the report on Telekom”. The question is then asked why, for weeks, she keeps commenting on the operation of Telekom and what are the motives behind it. Vasilić did not answer the logical question why she is making public her claims in the media outlets owned by Telekom’s competitor, and whether she prejudices the attitudes of the Anti-Corruption Council, publicly presenting her allegations, which she claims to be facts.
Morality, what that is
Jelisaveta Vasilić, denying to be in a conflict of interest, refers only to the formally legal status, while not mentioning at all the moral attitude, which is the essence of our article. In its article, Kurir gave her a chance to say what she wants to say, and we also invited the Vice-President of the Anti-Corruption Council, as well as a lawyer, who explained to us the legal aspects. Not even a single moment did we claim that she is in a formal-legal conflict, but we are asking the question whether she is in such conflict. We have serious grounds to believe that she is in a moral conflict – with her personal attitudes, presenting herself as a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, Jelisaveta Vasilić accuses Telekom in the media outlets owned by its greatest competitor, the United Group, in one of whose companies where her daughter works. This is the essence.
Kurir is not frightened and will continue to explore the operation of the United Group.
“Professionalism” in place
N1 insulted the journalists of Kurir
N1 as well, by reporting the claims of Jelisaveta Vasilić, grossly insulted the journalists of Kurir. The house which claims to be professional, but labels all those it does not like as unprofessional, published the words of Vasilić that “she does not know what kind of a paper ‘Kurir’ is and that truth is not important to it”, as well as that she “refuses to comment on utterly senseless remarks, which are not even worthy of someone who is a journalist, on condition that he completed journalistic studies”.
Kurir reminds N1, as it is referring to professionalism, to remind itself of the ethical norms contained in the Code of Journalists of Serbia. Proclaiming each word of criticism at their expense as an attack on the freedom of journalism, by publishing the attitudes of interviewees who most grossly label the journalists of Kurir, they are doing the same thing and violating the Code. Also, nowhere is it written that a journalist must complete studies of journalism. For instance, some of the greatest Serbian journalists did not complete university studies.
Kurir`s response / Photo: Media Centar