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INFO   :::  Projects > Archives > The Helsinki Charter: Promoting Serbia's Europeanization > Kikinda: Serbia and Europe




The first public debate within the project "Helsinki Charter: Promoting Serbia's Europeanization" realized with the assistance of
the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

Kikinda, April 16, 2010.

Implementation of one of the project activities - notably focusing the Helsinki Charter issue No. 135-136 published under the headline "The Balkans and European Challenges" - started in Kikinda with a launch organized in the town's Cultural Center. Historian Latinka Perovic, Seska Stanojlovic, editor-in-chief of the magazine, and Gordana Perunovic Fijat, contributor for the Helsinki Charter from Kikinda, introduced the project as a whole, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and the Helsinki Charter bimonthly, whereas Zeljko Bodrozic, editor-in-chief of the Kikindske weekly addressed the role of the media in Kikinda.

Speaking about the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Seska Stanojlovic notably referred to the organization's rich publishing activity resulting in a number of major historic-documentary editions and the Helsinki Charter magazine, published for fifteen years now despite all the challenges and obstacles standing in the way of the print media committed to the truth, professional ethics and journalistic courage. Latinka Perovic broached the wars of 1990s and the atmosphere of lies, plunder and crime still plaguing Serbia - for, regardless of actual facts and tons of evidence, Serbia continues denying its responsibility for the tragic developments in ex-Yugoslav region, including the Srebrenica genocide.

"Eight thousand people were killed there in three days only. The executioners must have had logistic support, grave diggers, machinery and people who cleansed the terrain after the massacre. This was indisputably an operation planned well in advance," said Ms. Perovic. The audience applauded her words. According to reliable information the most frequently punished journalist in the history of journalism in Europe, Zeljko Bodrozic spoke about the media landscape in Kikinda and the problems facing the town's press. Bodrozic had been charged for libel thirty times and most proceedings ended up in fines he had to pay. Relevant international institutions decided that Bodrozic could not been subject to legal actions or proclaimed guilty for his professional work. Nevertheless, he has never been compensated by the state of Serbia. Speaking about the way she presented her town in the Helsinki Charter, Gordana Perunovic Fijat said that the picture of the once prosperous town of Kikinda - where young experts from Belgrade and Novi Sad came to seek jobs - was practically erased in 1990s.

The audience assembled in the Cultural Center mostly posed questions to Ms. Latinka Perovic. What they usually wanted to know was whether historians could have predicted the tragic disintegration of ex-Yugoslavia. "The SFRY might not have dissolved had the then political elites of ex-Yugoslav republics been capable for dialogue - or at least it wouldn't have disintegrated in such a terrible way. Since the establishment of EU fifteen new states emerged in Europe without any incidents whatsoever, whereas domestic political elites still demonstrate neither courage nor readiness for dialogue," replied Latinka Perovic. The audience was composed of university and secondary school students, representatives of town's civil sector, the media and political parties (Liberal Democratic Party, League of Vojvodina Social Democrats and League of Vojvodina Hungarians). One Eastern Orthodox priest in civilian clothes was also there and so were two hard-core "white-collar" nationalists. The latter two silently left the hall once they realized that the audience was captured by the ongoing debate.

The latest and back numbers of the Helsinki Charter were distributed to the audience after the debate. The town's media announced and covered the event. Latinka Perovic and Seska Stanojlovic guested on a special talk show aired by VK Television and were interviewed by TV Rubin and Radio Kikinda. As for the interviewed participants in the debate, most of them said they hoped the Helsinki Committee's teams would come to their town more frequently.










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