Strongly protesting against impermissible and illegal features articles run by the Kurir tabloid – this time targeting a public figure and, more importantly, her underage son – the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia reminds the public and all relevant authorities of the duty the country has taken upon itself by signing the first binding international convention in the domain of protection of human rights – the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by all member-states of the United Nations.
This is neither the first nor an isolated case whereby Serbia’s media – including the so-called serious ones – refer to children in the manner that is explicitly prohibited not only by this most authoritative document in the area of the rights of the child by also by domestic legislation. The more so is the impermissible coverage of one specific case –Kurir would not give up despite ongoing public protests – an opportunity to warn the signatory-state and its authorities of their duty, deriving from Article 4, to take all available legislative, administrative and other measures to protect children from arbitrary and illegal interference in their privacy and attacks against their honor and reputation, and that every child has the right to such protection (Article 16). Those measures are crucial for Serbia’s media sphere and the state’s duty to make sure that journalists respect professional code that protects children.
The Helsinki Committee welcomes strong public protests the “Kurir case” has provoked in Serbia and joins the civil sector’s clear-cut demand for putting an end to such practice. This case may also provide an opportunity for drawing attention to other victims of media calumniation and defamation, grounded on fabrications and tendentiously presented information, but also to the responsibility for public discourse in the society constantly invoking its “traditional” morality.
Belgrade, June 19, 2009
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia