Pro-regime tabloid owner chooses jail over fine

Source/Author: N1

Pro-regime tabloid editor Dragan J. Vucicevic reported to the District Jail in Belgrade on Monday to serve a six month sentence for refusing to pay damages awarded by a court under a private law suit filed for insults against a journalist.

A court ordered the owner and editor of the Informer tabloid to pay damages after finding him guilty of making offensive remarks in Twitter posts against then Director of N1 TV Jugoslav Cosic under a law suit filed by Cosic. Vucicevic claims that the court order to pay damages of 200,000 Dinars (1 Euro – 117 Dinars) or serve the jail sentence was politically motivated while law experts recall that he the law suit was not a criminal case and that he could have avoided going to jail by paying the damages as he has done several times earlier following similar law suits.

Vucicevic told reporters in front of the jail that he was there despite claims that he would not turn up, adding that he would start a hunger strike immediately until his two demands are met – a review of the law suit and the decriminalization of public insults. “I am going to jail for all journalists and citizens. Under the law, any journalists or citizen can be sentenced for a Tweet,” he said.

A supporter of the Dveri conservative opposition movement tried to hand Vucicevic a bar of soap saying “you’ll need it”, causing a verbal conflict.