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House of Human Rights: Unconfirmed Leaked Information Threaten Freedom of Elections

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The Centre for Monitoring of Elections of Belgrade's House of Human Rights and Democracy warned that leaking unconfirmed information from official investigations with the aim to discredit political figures is a serious threat against free and fair elections in Serbia.

Citing the arrest and interrogation of Branko Lazarević, Deputy Chief of Mission of Serbian Embassy in Athens, Greece, the Centre for Monitoring of Elections called, on February 21, 2014, on the police, prosecution authorities and security services to stop with targeted leaking of information from ongoing investigations which are used as instruments in the election campaign.

The Centre believes that Lazarević case turned into an instrument of political fighting for the coming Parliamentary Elections.

“On Thursday, February 20, several daily newspapers published the same information, citing ‘sources in the investigation’, that Lazarević accused Ivica Dačić, president of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) of cooperation with criminals. Having in mind the fact that there is little practical possibility to have so many media reach, through investigative journalism, the same source, clearly the information (or misinformation) intentionally leaked to the media”, says the House of Human Rights and Democracy.

The members of the House of Human Rights – Civic Initiatives, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights YUCOM, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and the Belgrade’s Policy Centre

, find such actions to be dangerous and a threat against institutions and rule of law in Serbia.

“The citizens and the journalists can’t know if leaked information are true, there is no possibility to seek confirmation from an independent source, resulting in a serious possibility for violation of human rights of persons who are presented as criminals”, states the Centre in a statement published on the website of the House of Human Rights.

The Centre appealed to all media in Serbia to refrain from presentation of information leaked, with ulterior motives, by various offices and centres of political power in order to ensure the minimum conditions for fair and free election campaign. The Centre adds that otherwise, they risk to become accomplices in serious attempts to undermine the rule of law and human rights violations.

The Centre for Monitoring of Elections of the House of Human Rights invited all citizens, institutions and organisations to report any information on violations of electoral and campaign rules and announced that it intends to inform the Serbian public about all findings of its monitoring. (Source: House of Human Rights and Democracy)

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