Serbia: Court Sets a Promising Precedent on Hate Speech Against Activist

November 1, 2018

On September 19, 2018, a court in Belgrade established that the editor of a daily newspaper called The Informer broke a law against hate speech by publishing an article attacking an activist and former Hurford Youth Fellow Anita Mitic and her former organization the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR). The editor was ordered to pay restitution for “the injury of the reputation and of the dignity” of Mitic, setting an important precedent.

The ruling describes several derogatory and politically-charged terms that the YIHR asserts are commonly used by public figures “in reference to their political opposition, citizens of opposing beliefs and civil society organizations, as well as the media.” A statement issued by the YIHR notes that “this particular ruling. . . is one of the rare examples where terms which are frequently used as a part of hate speech in Serbia were clearly described and sanctioned.” The decision sets a promising tone for how hate speech is perceived in Serbia. Read more about the case here.