Praxis Watch

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Daily Informer and Portal Telegraf Violated the Code of Ethics of Journalists

The Appeals Commission of the Press Council has established that Daily Informer and Portal Telegraf have violated the Code of Ethics of Journalists by calling the Albanians “Shiptars”.

During October 2014, Daily Informer and Portal Telegraf published a series of texts in which the Albanians were pejoratively called “Shiptars”. On that occasion, Praxis and 13 other non-governmental organizations filed an appeal to the Press Council, stating that such way of reporting is inadmissible and that pejorative and colloquial naming of certain group in media is not in accordance with the Code of Ethics of Serbian Journalists.

The Appeals Commission of the Press Council has adopted the appeal and reached the decision that Daily Informer and Portal Telegraf have violated the Code of Ethics of Serbian Journalists, precisely the Item 1 of the Chapter IV, according to which a journalist shall oppose all those who violate human rights or who advocate any kind of discrimination, hate speech or incitement to violence, and Item 4 of the Chapter V according to which a journalist must be aware of the danger of discrimination that can be spread by media and shall do everything to avoid discrimination.

Press Council has established that it is undisputable that Albanians, or at least a part of them, take the word “Shiptar” as an insult, which should be enough for media to avoid using such word. The guidelines from the Code of Ethics of Serbian Journalists specify that it is “inadmissibly colloquial, derogatory and imprecise labelling of certain group”, in this case members of the nation whose official name in Serbia is the Albanians. Also, the Commission assessed that context in which the name was used is very important in this case. The media job is to inform and not to additionally raise tensions, this time caused by the incident that occurred at the football match between Serbia and Albania and comments related to that event, and thus insisting on the use of disputed term while reporting on that event is particularly unacceptable.

Praxis welcomes the decision of the Press Council and draws the attention of media that the use of term “Shiptar”, but all other pejorative and derogatory labels for certain social groups, is not in accordance with the Code of Ethics of Serbian Journalists and that they should not be used.

For more information, see the announcement: Daily Informer and Portal Telegraf Violated the Code of Ethics of Journalists

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