23. avg 2023.

An appeal to the media by the families of those killed in Experimental Elementary School „Vladislav Ribnikar“

I regard the letter from the parents of the murdered children to the editors in chief of the media as a kind of manifesto that all journalist associations and media associations should stand behind and that should be supported by the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media (REM) and the Press Council, along with concrete steps from their domain of activity and responsibility. ANEM supports all requirements and calls on its members to consistently adhere to and respect them. (Veran Matić)

The photo was published with the consent of the families of those killed in the massacre at „Vladislav Ribnikar“ elementary school as an integral part of this text. Any potential sharing is possible only with the consent of the author of the text or the families of the victims

Dear all,

We, the parents and closest members of the families of those killed in the Experimental Elementary School „Vladislav Ribnikar“ in Belgrade, are hereby addressing you, the editors in chief of television and other electronic and print media, with a request to change the way you inform the public about the tragedy that struck, not only us, but also the whole society. In short, please stop further devastating effects that your reporting had on us. The daily publication of „sensations“ or „exclusive information“ (which are usually full of untruths or half-truths), accompanied by photographs of a juvenile murderer, as well as pathetic announcements and performances by certain media workers, politicians and other participants in public life, only causes our re-traumatization, and in society you feed and nurture the cult of violence and evil. In order for such a tragedy to never happen again, it is the children and their guardian – the victims – who should be remembered by every citizen, not the murderer who took their lives.

Therefore, we appeal to you, not only as editors, but primarily as human beings, citizens and members of this wounded society, to do the following: First, try to put yourself in our position and ask yourself if this tragedy is a topic that you should think about exclusively through the number of viewers, „shares“, „clicks“ or circulation based on the one who committed the massacre. Second, stop publishing texts and articles about the killer and his family, as well as statements whose purpose is aming at relativization or glorification of his crime. Third, stop publishing any photos of the juvenile killer and do everything in your power to have the photos currently available on the websites of the media houses where you hold key positions be deleted. We also request that no photos of the perpetrator of the crime or his family be published in any text or feature about the victims.

We understand the need to write about two unimaginable crimes. Then, why don’t you write through the prism of texts about our children, with their names and photos, with their talents, friendships, with the activities that fill their too short lives? Will the texts about their goodness, love, intelligence, joy, faith, wisdom, determination and courage not be read and are only reading ratings most important or is the protection of the public interest of the most importance? Is it so difficult to make portraits of those killed in Belgrade, Dubona and Malo Orašje, to report on the condition of the wounded, deeply traumatized?

We strongly believe that the citizens of Serbia are on the side of good and against evil, that they are interested in the stories from the lives of the murdered children, their good souls, the values and talents they developed; their guardian Dragan, who made every child feel special, loved and important. We feel the need and responsibility to convey to you how we, the parents whose children were killed, feel every day, passing by the newstands with your newspapers, following television programs and social networks. It is the infliction of indescribable pain every day, every hour, every moment. It is as if the murders of our children are happening again and again and will essentially never stop, if this type of reporting continues. Such excessive exploitation of this crime, with a focus on the killer, his family, so many half-truths and outright lies, make society completely empty of emotions and the possibility of growing true compassion, thus eliminating the prerequisites for any form of catharsis and creating space for healing.

Finally, let us live through our pain and sorrow in peace and fight an arduous battle before the judicial authorities for the truth about the death of our most loved ones; for the truth about the death that came to them through the audacious action of the killer, at their school, in the place where Dragan worked, and our children rejoiced, played and acquired knowledge and skills for a successful life that they will never have. Our lives, the lives of our families and all those who loved our loved ones, have been destroyed forever and we believe that the perpetrator of the crime and his family should not receive a single letter of support in the public media.

No one and nothing in this world can bring back our most loved ones. However, thanks to the responsible and very important positions you perform for society, you can have the impact on the fact whether the massacres in the Experimental Elementary School  „Vladislav Ribnikar“ and in Malo Orašje and Dubona will ever happen again.

Respect our pain and hear our pleas, not only as editors or employees of a company, but, above all, as human beings.

We thank you in advance.

Respectfully Yours,

Families Andjelković, Asović, Aćimović, Božović, Vlahović, Dukić, Kobiljski, Martinović, Negić and Čikić

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