The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European
group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed their
outrage after two journalists were accused of disclosing state secrets and face
secret trial in Serbia. Jelena Spasic and Milorad Bojovic of Nacionalni gradjanski newspaper have been charged with publishing
information deemed classified but journalists dismiss the claim as the controversial
material had been obtained though fair
"These journalists are being made scapegoats as there is no evidence of
law breaking and charges against them are unconscionable," said Jim Boumelha,
IFJ President. "The authorities are resorting to secret trials to shield from
responsibility those who failed to protect official documents under their care."
According to IFJ affiliates in Serbia, the UNS and IJAS, the prosecuting
authorities have brought charges against Jelena and her editor Milorad after
the newspaper published an article quoting a government paper on the country's
military combat readiness as well as the capacity to handle natural disasters.
Journalists accessed the information after the document which had been
submitted to Parliament was left lying around the building.
The IFJ affiliates say they had received assurances from the Serbian
Ombudsman that the journalist had done nothing wrong and no action would be
taken against the newspaper. The ombudsman has criticised the charges which are
being brought by the prosecutor who has requested that the case be heard in
The IFJ and EFJ back their Serbian affiliates who launched a petition http://www.uns.org.rs/Peticija/peticijaJS_cir.aspx to condemn the charges and the proposed secret trials, saying that such
a course of action violates their colleagues' fundamental rights.
"We fully support the petition as our colleagues have no case to answer," said Arne König, EFJ President. "The attempt to trial them in secret
would be a travesty of justice and contrary to all international norms of due
process, including the Council of Europe' standards of dispensing justice. Journalists did their job and published relevant and important information to the public".
The EFJ earlier this year organised its Annual meeting in Belgrade which
raised with President Tadic the deteriorating conditions for media freedom in
represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contactthe EFJ at +32 2 235.2200