Within the investigation instigated on the grounds of the violation of rights and interests of a child in certain media reports, the Protector of Citizens established that the Ministry of Culture and Information filed a request for launching a misdemeanor offence proceedings against the editor-in-chief of the internet portal www.novosti.rs Mr. Milorad Vučelić because he made the identity of minors identifiable in published media content.
On 4 February 2021, the Protector of Citizens initiated own-initiative investigation to control work legality and regularity of the Ministry of Culture and Information from which it requested to launch applicable procedures to ascertain whether certain media outlets have violated the rights and interests of two children by reporting on the abuse of the children in the vicinity of Kovin, and to take the necessary measures within its remit.
The statement that the Ministry submitted to the Protector of Citizens reads that, in the procedure of monitoring the implementation of the Law on Public Information and Media, the Ministry determined that the editor-in-chief of the internet portal www.novosti.rs made the identity of a minor recognizable in the information that might harm his right or interest in the media content that was published on the website of the newspapers on 3 February 2021, which was not compliant with the provisions of Article 80, paragraph 2 of the Law.
The Ministry of Culture and Information further stated that it had filed a motion for initiating misdemeanor proceedings against the editor of the internet portal www.novosti.rs Mr. Milorad Vučelić, the Protector of Citizens determined.
In the same control investigation, the Protector of Citizens requested the statement from the Kovin Social Welfare Center which notified the Institution that the children’s family has been on the Center’s record as a beneficiary of social allowances, as well as that it had no knowledge that the violence existed or that it was reported.
The Center’s statement reads that two children were placed in a foster family immediately upon learning that the father abused them, whereas the other children were urgently removed to a relative's family, which reported the accident, and they were subsequently provided with foster care.