CEAS Press Release: Joint tendentious, misogynistic enterprise with additional elements of defamation and intimidation of convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj and Happy TV against Jelena Milic and CEAS

As a guest on the Happy TV morning program on 23 November 2020, Vojislav Šešelj, a convicted war criminal, stated the following: "Katarina just asked me why I came here with a mask. If Katarina was alone on the show, I would have come without a mask, but since you are here Marić, you represent a grave danger because you hang out with Jelena Milić a lot…She carries a whole zoo with her… Marić endeavors to tame NATO crabs. So I will not mention her in that context, but rather Marić. "

For those who don't know, the mentioned zoo refers to the increased number of animals that apparently inhabit the body of Jelena Milić, director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies from Belgrade (CEAS), who passes sexually transmitted diseases in such a way that others must protect themselves with masks like the ones used for protection against the Covid-19, a virus that has claimed more than a million lives worldwide and more than a thousand in Serbia.

Convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj is now extending the nature of his misogynistic insults against Jelena Milić, so it is no longer "just" (author's comment) about "NATO crabs that Jelena Milić has" and which are transmitted "only" (author's comment) by sexual contacts with NATO staff, as it has been claimed thus far, and went unchecked, without anyone's condemnation, including numerous NGOs, human rights defenders, women's rights activists, and gender equality defenders, let alone the reactions of competent independent and state gender equality bodies, individuals in power, REM or prosecuting authorities.

CEAS reminds that this individual has for years, as an MP, promoted the book "Jelena Milić NATO crabs", using the resources of Serbian taxpayers, which include CEAS and Jelena Milić themselves, claiming that he proved that Jelena Milić has crabs! 

CEAS emphasizes that this last misogynistic insult is additionally offensive and dangerous for Jelena Milić because it is connected with the possibility of infecting others in the same way as Covid-19 virus.

Employees of Happy TV, Milomir Marić and Katarina Korša, as well as Irina Vukotić before that, again permitted the monstrous misogynistic Šešelj's statements addressed to CEAS director Jelena Milić to reach a large number of Serbian viewers, bearing in mind that Happy TV is the fourth most-watched station in Serbia, with a large audience in Republika Srpska and on satellite, and its morning program has even higher ratings. Having in mind the newly increased number of appearances of Vojislav Šešelj in the mentioned program, in which he makes reference to "NATO's crabs Jelena Milic" practically every time, we believe that this represents a joint, tendentious, misogynistic enterprise with additional elements of defamation and intimidation of convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj and Happy TV against Jelena Milic and CEAS.

Unfortunately, the same war criminal, who makes regular appearances on Happy TV, was recently a guest on the Hit Tweet show on Pink TV, another broadcaster with national frequency.  That means that the "friendly advice" of Milan Antonijević, director of the Open Society Foundation, telling us to "let it go because Šešelj's time is past", which we received instead of his condemnation for Šešelj and Happy TV and the support for CEAS and Jelena Milić, clearly does not stand.

CEAS has been drawing the attention of Brankica Janković, the re-appointed Equality Commissioner, about this situation for several years. Janković has not just been avoiding public condemnation of Šešelj's misogynistic conduct against Jelena Milić over the years,  but also refusing to react to numerous CEAS motions with requests to react ex officio, offering instead legally invalid explanations. 

CEAS especially notes that this joint, tendentious misogynistic enterprise with additional elements of defamation and intimidation by convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj and Happy TV against Jelena Milic and CEAS, came only a few days after another high-level international conference "Belgrade NATO Week" organized by CEAS, with the participation of senior officials from Serbia, the EU, the USA, and NATO. Convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj, as a regular guest on Happy TV, delivered misogynistic insults with references to "NATO crabs" in the period just before the conference as well, which confirms our assumption that this is an organized joint enterprise, which remains without condemnation or reaction, but has a specific objective, which we would like to point out to the relevant Western actors.

CEAS reminds that the national frequency that Happy TV has is a public good belonging to all citizens of the Republic of Serbia, even the ones working in CEAS, including Jelena Milić. Only five TV stations have the privilege to reach every TV set in Serbia, which is not the case with cable channels that do not have a national frequency, regardless of the Regulatory Body of Electronic Media's attempts to relativize the matter.

We remind you that the Law on Broadcasting ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 42/2002, 97/2004, 76/2005, 79/2005, 62/2006, 85/2006, 86/2006 - amended and 41/2009) stipulates that broadcasters must respect the dignity of the person in programs that are shown on radio and television. Article 19 prescribes "The presentation of programs that seriously endanger the physical, mental or moral development of minors is prohibited." Article 20 of this Law prescribes that copyright and related rights must be protected, while Article 21 stipulates that broadcasters' programs must not contain information that incites "discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or group of persons due to different political affiliations or belonging to or not belonging to a race, religion, nation, ethnic group, gender or sexual orientation."

On this occasion, the CEAS legal team will especially address REM and international stakeholders focusing on the Serbian media landscape issues. 

The CEAS legal team is preparing another request to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality to react ex officio to new, repeated insults and misogyny of Šešelj, hoping that in her second term, which was confirmed a few days ago (and which we consider ill-advised for many reasons, as we informed the public the other day), the Commissioner may finally react.

On the same occasion, CEAS will request meetings with the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Human Rights and the Deputy Prime Minister, and the President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality.

Unfortunately, as in many previous cases, CEAS will have to take legal action instead of the competent judicial authorities, although many lawsuits for grave threats, unfounded insults and lies have, on the one hand, been rejected or, on the other hand, the proceedings against known perpetrators have dragged on deliberately for years,  which exhausts us all organizationally and financially.

Belgrade, 2 December 2020

Tags: Vojislav Šešelj