Source/Author: CJA
Source/Photo: CJA / Nikola Šolić

The Croatian Journalists’ Association appeals to all media, including editors, journalists, and reporters, to adhere to the Code of Ethics of Croatian Journalists, as well as universal journalistic ethical principles when reporting on tragic events such as those recently in Serbia. Publishing details of tragic events, unverified information, and particularly distressing personal testimonies of eyewitnesses, even when they voluntarily wish to share them, can be dangerous. We reiterate that publishing the names and surnames of minors is a violation of children’s rights.

We also request that all colleagues reporting on the mentioned events contact us if they need psychological support.

Article of the Code of Ethics clearly states: “Special attention, caution, and responsibility are required when reporting on suicides, accidents, personal tragedies, illnesses, deaths, and violent acts. The journalist should avoid interviewing and depicting individuals directly or indirectly affected by these events, except when there is an exceptional public interest. In such cases, the journalist is obliged to consider the honor, reputation, and dignity of the individuals being reported on.”

Article 20 clearly stipulates: “A journalist must not disclose the identity of a child or minor involved in cases of sexual abuse or any other form of violence or criminal offense, whether the child or minor is a witness, victim, suspect, or defendant. Media reports on such cases must not enable the identification of the child or minor. The identity of the child or minor may only be disclosed exceptionally, when it is in the public interest and does not endanger the welfare of the child or minor, and with the consent of the parent or guardian of the child or minor, or when state bodies request it for the welfare of the child.” Any sensationalism and clickbaiting in such tragedies, which have irreversibly destroyed the lives of numerous families, are not in the public interest and are not in line with the principles of journalistic profession.

Instead of media saturation with horrors that we are witnessing these days, which can potentially evoke negative reactions, CJA calls for responsible and professional reporting.

For the Executive Board,

Hrvoje Zovko, President of CJA

Dragutin Hedl, Vice President of CJA

Chiara Bilić, Vice President of CJA