The Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić congratulated all journalists and media professionals on May 3 – World Press Freedom Day and underscored that mutual solidarity is the main requisite for improving their position and reducing all sorts of pressure and attacks on the profession representatives.
"Collegiality and support, more precisely mutual solidarity of journalists, are the main requisites for improving the position of journalists in our country. Pressure and attacks on journalists were recorded last year as well, and their register, as in previous years, is still not a single one," Mr. Pašalić has said.
Pašalić said that a year ago, in May 2020, he had signed the Agreement with seven media associations and three journalists' unions on establishing a platform for recording cases of safety threats and pressure on journalists and other media actors, that the technical development of that platform had been completed and that the available data was being fed into the database.
“The goal is to establish a single database on attacks on journalists, as well as a more efficient mechanism for protecting the safety of journalists. All data on attacks and pressure on journalists compiled in one place will contribute to more effective actions of the competent authorities in cases of endangering journalists safety," the Protector of Citizens has stated.
At the same time, the compiled data will bring about a more efficient reaction of the Protector of Citizens to the actions of the competent authorities in the reported cases of violating media freedom and freedom of expression, Pašalić has said.
The Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, wished Happy Easter to all citizens of the Republic of Serbia who celebrate according to the Julian calendar wishing them to spend it in good health, peace and prosperity and stated that solidarity and tolerance are key to facing the challenges of our time.
"I wish Happy Easter to all citizens celebrating the greatest Christian holiday according to the Julian calendar for the second time in different conditions from those they are used to. We all strive to return to the usual way of life, and in the altered life circumstances, the trump cards for it are tolerance, mutual respect and care for others ", said the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić.
Free medical examination of domestic violence victims by forensic doctors, further to the Protector of Citizens’ proposal, has become a mandatory part of the measures envisaged in the Strategy for Prevention and Combating Gender-Based Violence against Women and Domestic Violence for the period 2021-2025.
For years, the Protector of Citizens has been urging that victims of domestic violence be provided with an urgent examination by forensic doctors in order to "fix" the evidence and to use that medical report later in court proceedings, thus making the adequate sanctioning of the perpetrator possible.
"Since 2004, in the capacity of a judge of the Misdemeanor Court in Belgrade and subsequently in the Republic, I have been addressing the issues of identifying and protecting domestic violence victims, primarily women, and creating opportunities for the competent authorities to take upon them specific assistance to victims in terms of prosecuting and punishing those who dare to commit violence. This has been carried out through the Strategy", said the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić.
Mr. Pašalić has stated that the practice has shown that many victims in court proceedings withdraw the statements given immediately after the violence occurred and thus impede the hearing of evidence for any reason, and that in such a situation an examination by authorized institutions would be a way to ensure that abusers do not escape punishment for their behavior.
"For all these years of work, I have noticed, on a sample of thousands of families, that the most severe consequence of domestic violence is the opening of the next round of violence, because living with domestic violence frequently breeds either a future abuser or a future victim" said Mr. Pašalić and added that the adopted solution was a good starting point as to the direction in which the competent authorities should head.
Pursuant to the Istanbul Convention and GREVIO Group recommendations, the suggestion from the Protector of Citizens’ normative opinion on the Proposed Strategy for Prevention and Combating Gender-Based Violence against Women and Domestic Violence for the period 2021-2025 to introduce "conducting free, specialist and forensic, medical and laboratory examinations and providing free psychological support compliant with the needs of victims of violence", has been adopted.
The proposal of the Protector of Citizens to use the phrase "women of different sexual orientation and gender identity" when referencing women from vulnerable social groups has been included in the Strategy as well, and elderly women have been categorized as a vulnerable social group.