December 23, 2015
Aleksandar

Journalists rallied on December 21 in Belgrade because the Defence Minister has still not been sacked – despite the Prime Minister’s claim that he would go for his sexist comment.

A group of Serbian journalists protested in front of the government building on December 21 over the fact that Defence Minister Gasic remains in his post long after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he would be removed for making a sexist remark.

Jovana Gligorijevic, a journalist from the magazine Vreme and creator of Twitter hashtag #novinarkeneklece (‘female journalists do not kneel’), said the journalists had gathered to “support their colleague”.

Gasic made a sexist comment to Zlatija Labovic, a journalist from TV B92, during a visit to a factory in Trstenik on December 6.

After Labovic crouched down to get out of her camera operator’s shot, Gasic said: “I love female journalists who get down on their knees easily.”

The day after the incident, Prime Miinster Vucic said that Gasic could no longer remain in the government because of his “reckless” comment.

However, the Prime Minister still has not submitted a proposal to remove Gasic to parliament.

“Despite the PM’s promise to sack Gasic, he has still not done it. We have waited for weeks and have no intention of backing down and doing nothing after someone insulted one of our colleagues,” Gligorijevic said.

Branko Cecen, director of the Center for Investigative Reporting of Serbia, CINS, told BIRN that journalists dwelt angry and disappointed.

“The feeling of humiliation is getting worse for Serbia’s journalists. The fact that one ministry cannot function because one person might be replaced says a lot about the government,” he said.

“This delay in sacking a sexist minister is getting beyond of rules of political behavior as well as decency,” Cecen added.

On December 17 Vucic clarified that he while he still intended to sack Gasic – he would only do so when he found an adequate replacement – which, he insisted, was a difficult task.

“If you think we can find a minister in a kafana [pub] in a day, that is ridiculous… Why is it so important to dismiss him after three or 10 days?” Vucic asked on Palma TV.

Commenting the low turnout of journalists at the protest, Cecen said that he “didn’t understand why people didn’t come in greater numbers”.

“How are they going to defend themselves if not like this?” he asked. “They have no political power, no economical power and don’t control their own media. I won’t judge my colleagues but I know the situation in the media. People are desperate,” Cecen concluded.

Source: Balkan Insight