The documentary film “Witnesses” which has been awarded with the EU award for investigative journalism published in 2014. in Serbia was presented on October 29th in Novi Sad. After the projection, the authors Ivana Lalić Majdak and Miloš Teodorović spoke with the audience about their experiences on the project and the situation on the media scene in Serbia.
The film “Witnesses” deals with the position of the protected witnesses in court proceedings which are initiated due to the crimes in Kosovo. The willingness of people from the police, army and paramilitary groups to speak out about the crimes in which they have participated or which they witnessed, was never encouraged, but these people were exposed to threats and blackmails.
Ivana Lalić Majdak shared with the audience experiences from the investigation – months-long refusals of the representatives of public institutions to participate in the film, as well as the poor response of the media for the film broadcasting, given to the importance of its content. Miloš Teodorović expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that for the many war crimes there is still no one responsible, and that these processes do not present the news for the media. The authors have agreed that journalists should not give up on the profession, because there have been much worse times on media scene in Serbia than these, when journalists were losing heads, but they struggled and were bolder.
The award is established by the European Commission, DG Enlargement, following the EU Enlargement strategy which recognizes strong need for ensuring freedom of expression in the media, and for support to investigative journalism to monitor the reform processes and to keep the historical momentum toward the EU accession. The EU award for investigative journalism aims at celebrating and promoting outstanding achievements of investigative journalists and improving the visibility of quality investigative journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
The awarding process in Serbia is managed by the Novi Sad School of Journalism.