On 12 May 2017, the Judges’ Association of Serbia and the IRZ organised a conference on “Justice and the Media” as part of their long-standing cooperation. Law professionals and journalists were invited to attend the event. In fact, the latter made up by far the majority of the speakers. The demands made by the press on the justice system were therefore a focal point of the conference. This led to a lively but harmonious discussion, with both points of view being put across. 

The event was opened with welcome speeches by the Serbian Secretary of State for Justice, Čedomir Backović, and the permanent representative of the German Embassy, Alexander Jung. Snežana Bjelogrlić, President of the Management Committee for the Judges’ Association of Serbia, and Dr. Stefan Pürner from the  IRZ opened the conference on behalf of the event organisers.

The Serbian speakers were

  • Dragana Boljević, President of the Judges’ Association of Serbia,
  • Vojislava Crnjanski Spasojević, a journalist for the Večernje novosti daily newspaper and
  • Bojana Mladjenović from the state broadcasting company, RTV.

Dr. Wolfgang Janisch, a correspondent for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Deputy Chairman of the Judicial Press Conference of Karlsruhe shed light on the situation in Germany.

The importance of this event is also underlined by the fact that participants included representatives of the OSCE and the Prosecutional Council, as well as members of the courts and the media. The news agency Tanjug and state broadcasting company RTV reported extensively on the event.

The conference can be summed up by the statement that the justice system and media must work together but that they have different expectations. This requires a constant dialogue to be maintained, to which events such as this one contribute. The media need to take into account the fact that, in today's changing media landscape, staff resources for reporting on justice are constantly being cut. This makes it all the more important for law professionals to  support the media with active press work. Ohterwise is a risk of the activity of the justice system being distorted in public perception.