Serbia / Press Council/102




Serbia / Press Council/102

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Decision/ruling/judgment date

Friday, June 26, 2020

Crime type(s) concerned/related

Hate speech

Related hate bias motivation

Migrant status

Groups affected


Court/Body type


Key facts of the case

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint against the daily "Blic" due to discriminatory comments below the text on the social network Facebook. With the comments below the text "INTRUSION INTO THE MIGRANT CENTRE: man from Obrenovac broke through military barricades by car and went wild in the reception centre shouting: "I don't want a Muslim state!", Published on May 6, 2020, on the Facebook page of the daily "Blic". *A large number of migrants in Serbia are Muslims or they are coming from states with a majority Muslim population. About statistics of a number of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants you can find in this report: Petrović, Lena (2020), “Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2019”, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, pp. 13-15. This report is available in English on:

Main reasoning/argumentation

It violated the point 1 of Section IV (Responsibility of journalists) of the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics, on the obligation of journalists to oppose anyone who violates human rights or advocates any kind of discrimination, hate speech and incitement to violence, as well as point 4 of Section V (Journalistic due attention) according to which a journalist must be aware of the danger of discrimination that can be spread by the media and should do everything to avoid discrimination based, among other things, on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, religion, political and other opinion, national or social origin.

Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case

From the rationale of the decision:
"As for the content of the comments, the Council decided that they are undoubtedly discriminatory in relation to migrants, insulting to them, as well as calling for violence, either directly or through expressing support for a person who broke into the Reception Centre with a vehicle. Regardless of the fact that the text itself is not disputable, the editorial board had to take care that such comments undoubtedly encourage further spread of prejudice and hatred towards migrants, and that their removal in this case is not a restriction of freedom of speech, but an obligation of the editorial board to oppose those who violate human rights and advocate for discrimination, hatred and incitement to violence."

Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case

The Press Council ordered the daily "Blic" to publish the decision within five days from the date of delivery of the decision, and the decision of the Commission was published on the website of the Press Council ( and is available to the public.

Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.