RERI condemns the arrest of journalist Ana Lalić and urges all public authorities to obey the laws and provide all conditions for truthful, free and accurate informing of citizens, and to provide full protection to journalists who perform their jobs professionally. The availability of information through free media at this time of pandemic is as important to the public interest as any other measures taken by the competent authorities. The rule of law and the freedom of the media are undisputed keepers of public interest which must not be compromised in a state of emergency.
The decision to release Ana Lalić from custody and to withdraw the Government’s decision about informing the public during the corona virus pandemic is considered the right procedure, which eliminates the damage that these steps have caused and could have caused. We sincerely hope that the arrest of the aforementioned journalist will remain an isolated incident and that all public authorities, and above all the Government of Serbia, will provide all conditions for the proper work of journalists and thus enable all citizens to be regularly and accurately informed about the situation caused by the corona virus.
At the same time, we provide full support to all journalists who strive to provide citizens with timely, accurate and reliable information on the fight against the corona virus and the effects of the pandemic.
We expect that all actions from public authorities and holders of public office show unequivocally that the rule of law must in no way be endangered during a state of emergency and thus set an example for all citizens.