Zivkovic Samardzic has successfully defended the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) on appeal in a case filed by Serbia's Minister of Internal Affairs – and former Director of the country's Security Information Agency – Bratislav Gasic.
According to the firm, the case is "considered by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and many others as one of a dozen of SLAPPs (strategic lawsuit against public participation) targeting KRIK." The Crime and Corruption Reporting Network is a non-profit organization established to improve investigative journalism in Serbia.
The case "dealt with KRIK’s coverage of a trial against a local crime gang called 'Jotka’s group' published in April 2021," Zivkovic Samardzic reported. "Gasic claimed that the article damaged his honor and reputation since his name was mentioned in it, in a quote from the wiretapped conversation presented at the trial as evidence, where an indicted member of the crime gang was heard to mention that 'Jotka’s group' boss did not have to worry about his safety, because 'Gasic is at his cauldron,' an expression that, in criminal circles, as it was explained by the KRIK’s journalist, means that one person receives money from another."
According to Zivkovic Samardzic, "the Court of Appeal in Belgrade decided to remand the case to the Higher Court in Belgrade for a retrial and clarified, additionally, that when conveying facts from public court hearings, the standard of due journalistic diligence would be met if the published content is in accordance with what was presented at the hearing, and if the media published what the attendees in the courtroom could see or hear."
Back in 2020, Zivkovic Samardzic had also successfully defended the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network against defamation claims by businessman Vladimir Sekrevski (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on July 2, 2020).
The Zivkovic Samardzic team was led by Partner Kruna Savovic.