No. 07-00-72/2022-02 date: 14.6.2022.
The opinion was adopted in the proceedings regarding the complaints of AA and Association BB, filed against the daily newspaper GG, and DD, the author of the article “Paradise in Vuk Vrčević street”, as well as the complaint of the association VV, filed against the daily newspaper GG. In the complaints, it was stated that DD, in the mentioned article published on February 22, 2022, in the daily newspaper GG, discriminated against the Roma community. As the complainants pointed out, the discriminatory statements are as follows: that the life of Roma in cardboard settlements is a Roma tradition where they voluntarily live next to a large number of landfills, and where black dogs and naked children happily run around; that the Roma community stones the firefighters due to fires caused by burning tires in accordance with local custom, and the police do not react because allegedly “the regime reached a historic agreement with the Roma”, and who because of the gift packages vote for “Vućićić” in an organized manner, while they later resale these packages on the market without fiscal receipts; that the Roma carelessly beg, blow glue and snort heroin in accordance with customs and traditions, and that they are systematically allowed to pickpocket in city traffic, which is why Vuk Vrčević dances happily in his grave every night. According to the complainants, this text deeply affected the Roma community, which certainly did not choose to live in cardboard settlements. In the statement of the daily newspaper GG and DD, among other things, it was stated that the column is not in any way aimed at discriminating against any ethnic community, but rather represents an ironic presentation of the author who, through exaggeration and overemphasis, that is, the use of literary stylistic figures, aimed to draw attention to the abuse of a certain category of citizens for political purposes, that is, to the inappropriate treatment of a marginalized group in society, in accordance with their long-standing commitment to improving the position of the said community. According to the persons against whom the complaint was filed, the text shows the author’s view of the attitude of decision-makers and ruling political parties towards a specific marginalized group of our citizens, which on the one hand uses their votes in elections, and on the other, in the opinion of the author, at the same time shows no desire to do something to improve the objectively bad position of the majority of members of this category of citizens. As further pointed out in the statement, the column in question used numerous stylistic figures to convey that basic idea. The author of the column is a writer, whose literary works as well as columns and public speeches are full of irony, sarcasm, parody, hyperbolizing, often on the border of political correctness, and are generally characterized by exaggeration, but with the sole aim of conveying an appropriate message – criticism of society and social processes, and in order to point out the problems that society as such is facing, to shake up the drowsy public, and to the solve problems by recognizing them. When analyzing the published text, the Commissioner took into account the importance of freedom of expression, on the one hand, but also the limitation of this freedom, which, among other things, exists to protect the rights and reputation of others, as prescribed by the Constitution and the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. After the procedure, the Commissioner gave an opinion that the text of the DD in the daily newspaper GG on February 22, 2022, violated the dignity of the members of the Roma national minority, thereby violating the provisions of Article 12 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. Bearing in mind that the author and the editors of the newspaper GG reacted on their own initiative before adopting this opinion by removing the specific text and publishing a detailed explanation, while simultaneously publishing all the reactions and criticisms related to the text in question, and that this explanation was placed at the position where the removed column was located, the Commissioner recommended to daily newspaper GG and DD that upon receipt of this opinion, they should organize a meeting with the complainants, at which they will become more familiar with the problems faced by members of this national minority, as well as the consequences for them provoked by statements that create a hostile and offensive environment in everyday life, as well as not to publish content that insults the dignity of members of the Roma national minority in the future.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY