The media owned by United Group and the journalists and editors employed there have recently opened fire from all sides at the Journalists' Association of Serbia, its president Vladimir Radomirovic, the former president of the Association and the current president of the Court of Honour Ljiljana Smajlović, as well as at many journalists in the JAS membership, laying accusations of collective unprofessionalism and a disgraceful role they played in the 1990s against them, even calling them dishonourable.
These quarters criticize the JAS for unsigned official statements and working in the interests of the government and its media, even as they put a dangerous spin on the fact that they themselves have failed to adhere to the professional ethical standards. Rather than owning up to this mistake, they attack the biggest association of journalists and so sink ever lower into the quagmire that they first fell in announcing this as their own piece of news, only to correct and sign it as a statement by their owner regarding the ruling of the Swiss court against three Serbian media outlets, without any proof of ever having seen what the ruling actually says.
I have no reason to defend the JAS. We went our separate ways more than two years ago - after nine years I had spent in management - when I became but one out of approximately 2,000 members. I joined the JAS in 2002. I was not in it in the 1990s, nor have I worked for any of the war-mongering media, contributed a single piece to hate speech, or anything of the sort. As is the case with the large majority of the JAS membership.
I know that after 5 October 2000 all the editors-in-chief of Milošević's media were expelled from the JAS by a decision of the Court of Honour, on account of gross professional misconduct. I am currently employed at a company which publishes this newspaper, and work to help improve adherence to ethical standards. It is for this reason that I am bothered by the accusations of violating the Code, levelled against Kurir by the media owned by United Group, precisely on account of pointing out their failures.
This is why I am bothered by Slobodan Georgiev's writing on his Twitter account that all honourable members of the Association will leave it. I am bothered by his lies that the JAS does not own the building on Resavska Street. I am bothered when he presents himself as an honest journalist, wonders where the journalists are at the JAS, and announces that there are 10 or 15 of them there who will leave of their own accord in the coming days. I am bothered by Jelena Obućina, member of the JAS management and editor at the media outlet run by Slobodan Georgiev, leaving the Journalists' Association of Serbia after his announcement. It makes me suspect that listening to what your boss says is a dangerous habit.
Yesterday on the RTS, or today on Newsmax, it's all the same. I am bothered by the fact that Georgiev demands the JAS explain its role in the 1990s, because this role has been explained in court rulings as well. I am bothered by him asking for property, as it too is untouchable, precisely on the basis of the court rulings. I am bothered by these media outlets introducing, for instance, Žaklina Tatalović as a heroine of professional journalism, forgetting the prominent role she played in promoting this very government, her fairly recent shopping sprees around the world, and selfies taken in small airplanes. I am bothered by Ivan Ivanović only recently remembering journalistic solidarity, as well as by the fact that I do not remember seeing him at, say, the protests in front of B92 back in the day, when Olja Bećković's show was cancelled. I would like to offer my apology to him in advance if the 'crowds' blocked my view of him. Back then, he was more comfortable promoting the ministers of the day, although I do not dispute the fact that he is a journalist, regardless.
I am bothered by other Nova.rs journalists, whose work I sincerely respect, criticizing the JAS and the tabloids. They forget that their editorial staff consists of many journalists and editors from just these tabloids, the very same people who have instituted in that self-representing professional media outlet the very practices of which they accuse the tabloids and which they themselves use in identical ways as when they were employed at these tabloids. I am bothered by these media outlets taking it upon themselves to warn of ethics violations even as they question the exercise of the same right by others, including the biggest association of journalists, which is also one of the founders of the Press Council.
I am bothered by the fact that individual politicians and political parties publicly condemn the JAS, forgetting to mention that it was they who passed the law against the media in 2009. And that it was they who wanted to take JAS property by force, paying racket money to the Independent Association of Serbia's Journalists for writing indictments against journalists. Which they brought, and lost.
I understand that the drive to whitewash one's own CV trumps any personal dignity, but I am bothered very much by N1, Nova S, Nova.rs, and Newsmax Adria - who present themselves as professional media, and whose professional achievements I have had the chance to see for myself - doing the very unprofessional things they hold very much against the 'regime' media, as they refer to them. They, the media that complain to high heaven as soon as someone mentions them on Twitter, or in a newspaper that they find less than palatable over a question asked, are now doing exactly the same thing. They are campaigning in their media and on Twitter against those asking them questions. And the questions are simple: where is the ruling and what does it say? Why did you fail to mention that? Why did you first announce the news and then rename it into an official statement? Why did you violate the Code? And why are you now campaigning against those pointing all of this out?
Kurir.rs/ Photo: Press centar UNS