SEE Check stands by the courageous KRIK and investigative journalism

SEE Check – the network of 6 fact-checking portals in 5 Southeast European countries – expresses support to KRIK portal, which is facing as many as 10 lawsuits aimed at intimidation and censorship. Almost a million dollars are being demanded from KRIK in court, as well as prison sentences for award-winning journalists Dragana Pećo and Vesna Radojević. Attacks on KRIK and because they do their job professionally are both an attack on journalism as a public good and freedom of speech as a fundamental principle of a democratic society.

The publisher of the tabloid Kurir uses the lawsuit to respond to the results of the work of the RasKRIKavanja portal, which proved that in 2020 Kurir published more than 160 false and manipulative news on its front pages. Other lawsuits filed against KRIK are by people such as, among others, the head of the BIA intelligence agency, police chiefs, tycoons close to the government, people on Interpol arrest warrants, the first accused in the case of producing a ton of marijuana…

These are classic SLAPP lawsuits: their basis is not meritorious, the remedies sought are excessive, and the intent is to intimidate, censor and exhaust the defendant media. Such lawsuits are a form of legal harassment used by the rich and powerful to take away as much time, money and energy from journalists as possible and thus silence them. It is also a threat to democratic societies recognized by many democratic institutions.

SEE Check therefore recalls that the European Court of Human Rights states that states should provide financial compensation to victims of SLAPPs (Case of The Association Of Investigative Reporters And Editorial Security Of Moldova And Sanduța V. The Republic Of Moldova).

In its special report “Legal Harassment and the Abuse of the Judicial System Against the Media“, the OSCE Media Freedom Representative called on the authorities of all countries “to recognize the worrying and intimidating effect of lawsuits and lawsuits against censorship, intimidation, silence and exhaustion of media workers and houses. And to therefore consider some form of protection, including changes in regulations, for journalists and other media workers against such malicious lawsuits.”

We know that KRIK and journalism will not be intimidated or stopped. Help KRIK to continue investigating crime and corruption with donations at this link: