Serbia: Solidarity with KRIK as judge files lawsuits

Serbia: Solidarity with KRIK as judge files lawsuits - Protection

The undersigned journalists and media freedom organisations condemn legal actions taken by Judge Dušanka Đorđević and her husband against the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK), its editor-in-chief Stevan Dojčinović, and journalist Bojana Pavlović. The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) coalition considers these legal actions to be Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), aimed at silencing KRIK for its investigative work. SLAPPs are vexatious legal actions pursued as a means of harassing or intimidating journalists, media outlets, and other public watchdogs. 

The lawsuits followed KRIK’s publication of Judge Dušanka Đorđević and her husband’s profile on the ‘Judge Who Judges’ database on 24 January 2024. Launched in 2021, this database is a public source monitoring information on the Serbian judiciary. After the database was updated with information about Judge Đorđević and her husband, KRIK was notified that lawsuits had been filed for data protection violations on 13 May 2024. One lawsuit is criminal, based on the Criminal Code and the other one is civil, based on the Law on Contracts and Torts.

Under the civil lawsuit, the judge and her husband are requesting the court to rule that their privacy rights have been violated, to remove their information from the database, and to issue an injunction preventing KRIK from republishing the data, including information about the judgments, on its website. Failure to do so could result in KRIK being fined €100 for every day the content is not removed. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages of approximately €6,500, as well as coverage of their legal costs. The plaintiffs have also filed a private criminal lawsuit accusing the media and journalists of committing the criminal offence of Unauthorized Collection of Personal Data. They have asked the court to find the media outlet and journalists guilty and sentence them to imprisonment for 10 months each. They are also asking for the journalists to be banned from practising their profession for two years. These disproportionate demands represent a serious attempt to silence KRIK’s investigation work of public interest.

According to KRIK, including the profile of Judge Đorđević and her husband, a lawyer who is also employed by the Serbian Ministry of Finance, in the database was part of the process aiming at increasing the transparency of the judicial system. KRIK contacted the judge but she refused to answer their questions.

We urge judges to refrain from abusive lawsuits, as such practices have a dangerous chilling effect on journalists and media outlets in Serbia. 

We call on the Serbian government to swiftly implement the EU anti-SLAPP directive and include provisions for domestic cases to prevent such legal attacks in the future. Lawmakers should also refer to the Council of Europe’s Recommendation, which sets out robust standards that Member States must meet to ensure compliance with their human rights obligations when introducing domestic anti-SLAPP legislation.


Signed by

The Media Freedom Rapid Response 

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) 

OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

Free Press Unlimited (FPU) 

International Press Institute (IPI)

ARTICLE 19 Europe


SafeJournalists Network

Association of Journalists of Kosovo

Association of Journalists of Macedonia

BH Journalists Association

Croatian Journalists’ Association

Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

Trade Union of Media of Montenegro