Today, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, signed the Agreement on establishing the platform for recording the cases of endangering safety and repressions on journalists and other media stakeholders with the representatives of media associations and press unions. The agreement was signed with the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, Independent Journalists’ Association in Serbia, Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, Association of Independent Electronic Media, Media Association, Online Media Association, Business Association of Local Independent Media "Local press”, Serbian Journalists' Union (SINOS), Branch Trade Union of Culture, Arts and Media "Independence" and Autonomous Trade Union of Employees in Graphics, Publishing, News and Film of Serbia.
Mr. Pašalić said that that day was one of the most important dates in the Institutions’ work so far and expressed hope that the Agreement would improve the protection of journalists’ rights. Mr. Pašalić emphasized that the aim of setting up the platform was to establish a more efficient mechanism for protecting the safety of journalists, because accurate recording of each individual case of security threat as well as any form of pressure on journalists and media workers would contribute to more effective action of competent state authorities in cases of endangering journalist safety. Mr. Pašalić shed light on the fact that the role of the media was of great importance in the work of the Protector of Citizens, because as much as 90 per cent of investigations initiated on their own initiative was based on the information obtained from the media.
One of the signatories of the agreement, Ms. Dragana Čabarkapa, the chairwoman of SINOS, said that the media platform was extremely important for the protection of the economic rights of journalists, and expressed expectations that its work would greatly improve the position of journalists. We expect that this platform would encourage journalists and media workers to organize, to defend their labor and professional rights in the way it was done in the member countries of the European and International Federation of Journalists, of which SINOS was a member, Ms. Čabarkapa highlighted.
The Chairman of the Autonomous Association of Journalists of Serbia, Mr. Željko Bodrožić, assessed the platform as a good one because it brought together all relevant associations. We are glad that the Institution of the Protector of Citizens is standing by this. This gives us hope that the platform will come to life and that it will contribute to greater security of journalists. He added that the support of the Ombudsman will contribute to all media workers feeling safe and doing their job freely, Mr. Bodrožić said.
The Chairman of the Association of Journalists of Serbia, Mr. Vladimir Radomirović, urged all the journalists to report all types of violations of labor rights to associations and trade unions. We expect that this platform will come to life completely and that, in addition to physical threats and attacks on journalists, it would also record pressure, Mr. Radomirović pointed out.
The chairman of the Branch union of culture, art and media "Nezavisnost", Mr. Dragan Milanović, said that a safe journalist is the one who has a well-contracted job. The safety of journalists is not only physical but also security in terms of their normal life and not endangering their life and the lives of their family, Mr. Milanović explains, commenting on the importance of the platform that was signed today.
Mr. Veran Matić from the Independent Electronic Media Association accentuated that nowadays the journalists in Serbia as well as worldwide were increasingly endangered. Journalists’ Associations need to be primary support to each and every colleague wishing to do their job professionally and suffer because of that. New technologies bring new forms of threats and dangers, and we must also find ways to stop and reduce these new forms of threats to the safety and security of journalists, while punishing the perpetrators, Mr. Matić said.