OpisMEDIJavanje: Why the identity of persons in self-isolation is not public information

„According to journalists’ code of ethics, both ours and every journalistic code in the world, publishing health records is considered to be one of the biggest, most serious violations of the right to privacy,“ Serbian journalist Tamara Skrozza said recently for the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje.”

After the KoSSev portal received numerous requests to publish information on the identity of COVID-19 positive patients, we remind the public that journalists are obliged to respect not only the Law on Personal Data Protection but also the Journalists’ Code of Serbia – a document written by journalists themselves.

„Journalists must respect the right to privacy because the right to privacy is one of the human rights guaranteed by all world charters and documents. Every person, regardless of what function he or she performs, has the right to a certain amount of privacy. People who are not in state office, who are not public figures, have the right to the full protection of privacy. Nothing that is private to them should be published,“ Skrozza described one of the main obligations that professional journalists have toward society back in April.

This right also includes information on the health status of persons tested for COVID-19.

On the other hand, persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus have a moral and legal obligation to respect the measures of self-isolation. As the Kosovo Police and the Emergency team reiterated on several occasions, the implementation of this measure is the duty of the police.

„The people’s right to privacy is one of those rights that must not be suspended even in emergencies,“ warned Skrozza.

Examples of unprofessional behavior of the media, however, are not uncommon. For example, at the beginning of the epidemic, the Kosovo portal Gazeta Sinjali published the personal data of 210 Serbs, Gorani, and Roma who had just been quarantined or had been registered as positive to coronavirus. This act was criticized by journalists’ associations, international organizations, and regulatory bodies.

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Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.