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With regard to disclosing the identity of a patient suffering from coronavirus in Serbia, the Protector of Citizens Mr. Zoran Pašalić reiterated that any patient had the right to the protection of his or her privacy and personal data confidentiality regarding anything communicated to the healthcare worker, including information on his/her state of health, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Mr. Pašalić warns that tabloid-like reporting about a patient, which goes so far as to state the patient's occupation along with the diagnosis, is impermissible, and scaremongering is dangerous.

Therefore, the Protector of Citizens urges all participants in public life not to disclose private patient data; to refrain from scaremongering among the population; and to leave decisions on patient health care to the competent authorities in the health care system.

A woman from Belgrade addressed the Institution of the Protector of Citizens and complained that the written notice on being granted the allowance of assistance and care of another person was not delivered to her for a year due to an error of the Post Office employees. In her complaint, she explained that she requested from the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund an explanation why the notice was not delivered to her for a year. In the response, she was told that after a failed delivery via Post Office, she needed to go and collect the notice in the premises of Pension and Disability Insurance Fund. Since she suffered from multiple sclerosis and had difficulties moving, she was told that she might authorize another person in a Notary’s Office to collect the notice on her behalf. The monthly income of the complainant is very low, so she was not in the position to pay for notary’s services and she addressed to the Protector of Citizens in ordered to solve the problem.

The employees in the Secretariat of the Protector of Citizens contacted the Pension and Disability Insurance Fund immediately and three days after this intervention the notice was delivered to the complainant’s home address. Thus, in accordance with this notice, she can exercise all the benefits proscribed in the law.

 

Secretary general of the professional service of the Protector of Citizens, Olja Jovicic, participated in the conference of the highest representatives of the European institutions for equality “Towards effective equality – new responses to racism and intolerance” in Paris on the occassion of the 25th anniversary of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe (ECRI). The conference was held on September 26-27, 2019, within the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Council of Europe.

The main topics of the conference were mutual cooperation in the field of equality protection, the most effective ways to build an inclusive society, the benefits and risks of using new technologies, as well as the future of the idea of equality and combating racism and intolerance.

The aim of the conference was to formulate a common strategy and plan activities that will meet the biggest challenges in Europe in these areas.

Assistant secretary general, Natasa Jovic, and the Head of the Cabinet of the Protector of Citizens, Marija Podunavac, participated in the regular annual conference of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, held in Belfast from 25 to 27 September.

The theme of this year's conference were the rights of the child in the digital environment, both from the point of view of protecting children on the Internet and from the point of view of promoting the rights of the child to information, participation, expression, association and the exercise of other rights and freedoms of the child through the use of information technology (IT). A significant part of the conference was dedicated to the participation of children, through the European Network of Young Advisers, which is made up of children, who gave their own assessment of the rights of the child in the digital environment, their perceptions of the risks they are exposed to and their views on how children can be provided with knowledge and skills for responsible and secure use of IT. Particularly significant is the fact that children indicate that adult attention is predominantly focused on the risks to children's safety when using IT, and less on the benefits that children undoubtedly derive from information technology.

Assistant secretary general, Natasa Jovic, presented experiences, achievements and challenges in Serbia at a workshop dedicated to safeguards and strategic documents in the field of child protection in the digital environment. She emphasized that Serbia has ratified all key international treaties that are important for the protection of children in the digital environment, and that it has a national legal framework that provides a very good basis for establishing and developing mechanisms for protecting children in the digital environment.

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, met with representatives of the media associations of Serbia today in order to jointly determine all details regarding the proposal for a Cooperation Agreement in the area of establishing a Platform for the protection and improvement of security of journalists in Serbia. The meeting was initiated by the Coalition of journalists' and media associations due to certain ambiguities in the text of the proposal of the Agreement, according to which the first online platform in Serbia for recording all cases of security threats and pressures on journalists and media workers will be launched.

At today's meeting, the coalition representatives suggested that relevant professional associations, which have the “name, membership and work experience behind them”, should participate in the development of the online platform. It was also proposed that the existing databases of NUNS, UNS and the Permanent working group for the security of journalists should be used, which contain recorded cases of attacks and pressures on journalists and media workers. This would be an opportunity to unite these databases in order to obtain as accurate a record as possible of the journalists and media workers at risk, said the meeting participants. In order to operate the online platform as efficiently as possible – as explained by the coalition's representatives – it is first necessary to define the term pressure and what can be considered as pressure. Therefore, every application must be thoroughly checked in order to avoid any possible misuse. The next meeting will be held later this month.

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, submitted to the media associations at the end of July a proposal for a Cooperation Agreement in the area of establishing a Platform for the protection and improvement of security of journalists between the Protector of Citizens and Partners, which was drawn up after a series of meetings with journalists from all over Serbia.

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