Serbian newspapers the Informer and Srpski Telegraf published “graphic front-page tabloid accounts” of a child’s rape and the suspect, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) reported.
According to BIRN, the Independent Journalists’s Association of Serbia (NUNS) slammed the two outlets and called for sanctions against them for having broken the Law on Public Information and Media.
iMediaEthics has written to both news outlets for more information about their reporting, the criticism and their response.
In a statement on its website, translated via Google, NUNS argued the reporting “grossly violated the legal and ethical standards of the privacy and dignity of the underage girl” and broke the Serbian Code of Journalists. The law in question bans the description of the scene of violence in the media or media content must not violate the dignity of the victim of violence,” according to the statement.
iMediaEthics has written to NUNS to ask if it has any authoritative or sanction powers. The Serbian press council’s manager told iMediaEthics by e-mail:
“The Press Council has received a few complaints from citizens, but rules stipulate that only those directly injured by the media content can file a complaint.
“We expect that a human rights organization will secure permission from parents of the girl and file a complaint, or that a member of the Press Councils Complaints Commission will file a complaint.”
Srpski Telegraph apologized and said it wasn’t making excuses, but the Informer stood by its reporting, according to BIRN, which noted they both published a photo of the victim in an ambulance.
According to its website, Srpski Telegraph has “more than 10 million visitors a month,” and was founded in 2012.