The judge of the Basic Court in Podgorica, Aleksandar Stojanović, fully dismissed the claim of NGO Human Rights Action Executive Director, Tea Gorjanc-Prelević, for compensation of damages and publication of the judgment against the defendant, founder of the daily Informer, “Insider team,” Ltd Belgrade – part of foreign company based in Podgorica, represented in Montenegro by Novak Uskoković.
Judge Stojanović found that, although Informer published offensive allegations also at the front page as well stating that Gorjanc-Prelević was a “hypocrite”, a “so-called human rights activist” and that her behaviour was “disgraceful” were based on completely incorrect facts, which daily Informer also published – that she advocated for criminalisation of Defamation and for shutting daily Informer down, “the dominant interests of pluralism of opinions on a topic of public interest in a democratic society, such as (de)criminalization of Defamation in relation to the open topic of (in)coherence of public figures advocating for such a legal solution and (not) shutting down any media… as this court believes, do not indicate the need for the civil sanction of the defendant. “
The judge concluded that “pursuant to her public engagement, the plaintiff should treat public criticism with a higher level of tolerance, even if these are inaccurate, harassing and harmful.”
Tea Gorjanc-Prelević commented: “I will appeal against this judgment encouraging daily Informer and other media to conduct smear campaigns, based on 100% lies against people from the public scene, only if they somehow connect it with the subject of public interest. Such freedom of expression should not enjoy protection in the European democratic society, and I will do my best to prove this to the High Court by making reference to the European Court of Human Rights case law in a more comprehensive way than it has been done in the first instance judgment. The decision of the court to ignore the fact of defendant not acting in good faith and publishing the disputed allegations motivated by personal animosity towards me, of which he spoke in his defence, and not in public interest of debate on decriminalization is particularly surprising.”
The judgment of the Basic Court in Podgorica is available here.