Request submitted to the tv station “TV PINK” and the daily newspaper “Informer” to withdraw false statements and publish accurate information on the work of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies

Regarding the false and malicious allegations about the work of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS), and on the basis of the current Law on Public Information and Media, we submit a request for the correction of information to “TV PINK” station and “Informer” newspaper.

On November 5 2016, Dragan Vučićević, the Informer’s editor in chief, made the following false and malicious allegations on TV Pink’s “Dobro jutro” programme: “Take a look at Jelena Milić, the main NATO lobbyist. They can sue, but they don’t want to, but do you know why? Because I have evidence, because I have the data, because they know who this man is. I have an agreement with him not to reveal his identity. The man has worked for years in a company that mediated in obtaining and paying that money and simply got sick of that situation. … The citizens of Serbia have to know where she is paid from, that she is lobbying for NATO in Serbia, take a look at just two pieces of information, she received 342.000$ from one Austrian foundation, the American fund NED and from the Rockefeller Fund. In only two months 342.000$ and 110.000€…. I expect the competent institutions to react. OK, maybe all of that is legal, but we, the citizens of Serbia, have the right to know who is financed and how, and who is working for whom. We have reminded the public of the information published this summer, Soros paid that only to them, there is also Rockefeller there. They are all independent with the Western money, with American money, with Rockefeller’s and Soros’s money. They are so independent that each month they need tens or hundreds of thousands of euros to be even more independent, and then they preach us with lessons of freedom, democracy, love for Serbia, and what not….. The more people read about it the better it is, better for us, better for Serbia.”

The daily newspaper “Informer” has also published a series of malicious and false information about the work of the CEAS in articles published on November 6, 8. and 9:  “ The secret dossier, the foreigners give millions for bogus scandals – we disclose who, how and how much pays the media and NGOs in Serbia“; “Sonja Biserko got paid for trashing Serbia! 669.682€ from Europe and the US in two years” and “The Western countries paid the "Women in black" 1.587.596€“.

 “N. S, (34), a financial expert who mediated in payments, reveals the identity of persons paid by the foreigners. The weekly paper 'Vreme' received 3.945.692 dinars in just one tranche from the British government. NGO 'Crta' received more than one million euros, Jelena Milić received  342.000 dollars and 110.000 euros from foreigners.… As “Informer” has already written, the most money was paid by Soros for the projects which were directly aimed against the Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Most money went to Borka Pavičević’s “CZKD”   (2.242.776 dinars), Sonja Biserko’s  "Helsinški komitet" (2.228.400), Nataša Kandić’s “FHP” (1.466.100) and Vukašin Obradović’s media center NUNS (5.689.125 dinars). There are also the "Ana and Vlade Divac" foundation (2.633.638), Veran Matić’s “Fond B92” (2.001.250), “ANEM” (3.956.225), "Peščanik" (1.297.400) and Jelena Milić’s “CEAS” (2.508.400)…..110.000 euros – Jelena Milić received this money from the Norwegian Embassy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 342.000 dollars – received the funds from Rockefeller, Austrians and the American fund NED…. Jelena Milić, “CEAS”, 110.000 euros and 342.000 dollars.”

We would like to point out that the non-profit CSOs in Serbia, registered at the Serbia Business Registers Agency and receiving grants from democratic states and international organizations, are usually required to sign statements stating that they only engage in public advocacy, not in lobbying. CEAS has exclusively engaged in advocacy, never in lobbying. There is a big difference between these two concepts which can be briefly explained as follows: lobbying represents activities conducted in order to achieve particular interests while public advocacy is an activity that promotes public interest.

CEAS has never used the services of unidentified persons who mediate in “obtaining and paying money”. Since its establishment in 2007, the CEAS has received funds for projects exclusively through accounts opened in Komercijalna banka Beograd.

Since 2007 until 2016, the CEAS has, working in accordance with all applicable laws of the Republic of Serbia, implemented 36 projects with a total gross value of  851 264 US dollars, calculated at the average exchange rate on the date of obtaining the donation that were paid out in dinars, euros and Norwegian crowns. CEAS does not collect membership fees and does not make money in any way other than the realization of funds realized by project competitions. From the aforementioned gross sum, about 30% goes to programme costs, about 15% to fixed operating costs, about 25% to taxes and contributions on salaries and fees and about 28% to salaries and fees.

The CEAS has unfortunately never received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of “Austrian donation”.

Although we are not obliged to do so, the CEAS has, since its establishment, published basic information on our website www.ceas-serbia.org on all its projects, including the amount of the donations and the name of the donor (https://www.ceas-serbia.org/en/projects ).

With this letter we will also contact the Ministry of Culture and Information which is responsible for implementing the Law on Public Information and Media and the Office of the Government of Serbia for cooperation with civil society. We expected this office, as well as other civil society organizations, to react to this shameful series of malicious and false statements about the work of this CSO. Unfortunately, that has not happened so far.

Belgrade, November 9 2016.