CRTA is Belgrade-based non-profit, non-governmental organization with 10 years of advocacy experience. CRTA’s mission is focused on the establishment of a democratic culture in Serbia, with citizens empowered to participate in political processes and active in raising demand for accountable and democratic performance from their representatives and institutions. In this regard, CRTA launches, manages and supports civic activism initiatives targeting the democratic deficit in Serbia.

Within CRTA’s organizational structure, its middle management team is responsible for ensuring a sound management of CRTA’s complex program portfolio. Consisted of leaders of CRTA’s different program teams, middle management staff members coordinate individual projects and initiatives, including managing of daily teams’ operations through division of tasks, roles and responsibilities among team members, ongoing supervision of activities and quality control of deliverables.

Towards supporting the growth both within individual teams and the organization as a whole, CRTA invites an expert consultancy for further strengthening of middle management skills and competencies, including concrete skills such as decision making, facilitation and meeting management, offering feedback, managing relationships through training and coaching.

 

Purpose of the assignment

The main purpose of the assignment is to strengthen CRTA’s middle management staff on managing people and driving CRTA’s strategy, including through developing leadership and managerial skills, effective meeting practice and smart decision making, introducing new practices and dealing with resistance, assessing performance and giving feedback.

 

Details of the application process can be found here.

The number of Serbian citizens who would not report corruption due to fear of consequences and distrust in competent institutions significantly increased according to the results of a comprehensive poll “Public Opinion and Corruption” conducted by the CRTA in November 2019.

Although the vast majority (97.5 percent) of respondents, believe that corruption is harmful to society, only about 69 percent would report it. In comparison to the last year’s survey, there is a 15 percent increase in those who consider that competent institutions are corrupted and 12 percent more of those who are afraid of consequences of reporting.

Receiving money or services in exchange for the vote at the elections is seen by Serbian citizens as the most unacceptable form of corruption. Disapproval of vote-buying is on the rise – 95 percent of respondents find such a behaviour completely or largely unacceptable, compared to 93.6 percent of those who had such an attitude last year.

Growing citizens’ distrust in institutions should be an alarm for both society and the state – commented on these results Raša Nedeljkov, programme director at the CRTA. For the CRTA’s team, it is important that citizens understand the harmfulness of corruption in the electoral process. This confirms the correctness of the decision to focus special attention on corruptive behaviour and pressure coerced on voters during the upcoming election campaign.

The survey also shows that Serbian citizens least condemn corruption in cases such as enrolling a child in kindergarten and gift-giving to doctors after a successful intervention. You can see here complete results of the survey.

The CRTA welcomes the decision of the OSCE/ODIHR mission that assessed that it is necessary that this international organisation monitors the upcoming elections in Serbia to the fullest extent.

 

On this occasion, the CRTA wishes to display to the public a review of measures that the Government undertook in relation to the recommendations prepared by the OEBS/ODIHR-a and the CRTA.

 

Out of 31 CRTA’s recommendations regarding the 2020 elections, 12 were rejected and, so far, only 6 have been fully implemented. One third of the OSCE/ODIHR mission’s recommendations from the previous three election cycles have been considered through the complementary recommendations of the CRTA, but thus far none has been fully implemented.

Today, Istinomer editorial board has filed a criminal complaint against NN persons to the Cyber Crime Department of Serbian Ministry of Interior because of the DDOS attack carried out against Istinomer website on 16 December 2019.

Attack has started some minutes after 16.00 hours when the website crashed since it was knocked down by the weight of 30 million and 500 thousand requests per hour generated from IP addresses from Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia, India, and other.

We would like to remind the public that this attack came several days after the Istinomer online poll ‘Lie of the Decade’ had been hacked. In ten years of its work, Istinomer has never suffered hackers’ attacks of such a high intensity.

Istinomer editorial board is ready to cooperate with authorities completely as they expect the authorities to disclose those who ordered this and those who funded the technological diversions that Istinomer was exposed to.

Attack on Istinomer is a flagrant example of attempting to smother media freedoms and disable the first fact-checking media in the region to inform the public on who is using lies, abusing facts and giving irresponsible promises.

We sincerely apologize to Istinomer audience for the slow and delayed service concerning our content. Istinomer will continue with its mission of fact-checking and disclosing lies in politician’s statements, and other participants of public discourse too.

 

By adopting amendments to the Law on Prevention of Corruption, the Anti-Corruption Agency Act and the Law on Financing Political Activities, the National Assembly missed the opportunity to contribute to a more efficient prevention of public officials’ campaigning. The MPs did not adopt an amendment, submitted on the CRTA’s initiative which would prohibit public officials from participating in the promotion of the results of work of public authorities, such as commencement or completions of construction works on the infrastructure and similar projects, financed from the state funds.

Drawing on the results of the election observation and the OSCE / ODIHR recommendations, the CRTA has long pointed to the fact that a vague distinction between state duties and party activities is one of the key problems in the election process in Serbia. For years, election campaigns have been marked by ribbon-cutting ceremonies where state officials celebrated commissioning of highways sections or installing of new lifts, prompting voters to vote for political options to which those officials belong.

However, a positive move has been made since an amendment also submitted on the CRTA’s initiative was adopted, obliging the Anti-Corruption Agency to decide within 5 days on potential cases of misuse of public resources and public officials’ campaigning.

 

There won’t be any improvement of electoral conditions in the field of equal media representation if judged on the basis of two documents published by the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media – Draft Rulebook on the manner of fulfilling public media service obligations during the election campaign and Draft Recommendations for commercial media service providers on ensuring representation without discrimination during the election campaign to all registered political parties, coalitions and candidates.

“Having decided not to accept a series of constructive recommendations which were in line with international standards, the REM has essentially opted to continue avoiding fulfilling of its legally defined role and protecting the public interest in the electoral process. The legislator has not reduced the REM to a body that merely provides advice and recommendations. The REM has done it itself by deciding to influence the commercial media service providers only by a non-binding legal act. The obligation of the REM is to adopt general by-laws that set forth in more detail the rules by which broadcasters fulfil legal obligations through programme contents.”, said Raša Nedeljkov, programme director at the CRTA.

The REM has not recognised the need to influence the restriction in appearances of public officials in informative programmes during the election campaign. Instead, it has imposed a vague obligation on public broadcasters and only recommended to the commercial media to take account of journalistic ethics, professionalism and objectivity when reporting on the regular activities of officials.

The REM’s determination that the equal representation of candidates in the election programme be based on the “principle of proportional equality” is also challengeable, as it remains unclear how the importance of a political actor will be determined.

Based on the Plan of Media Service Providers Monitoring published by the REM, the CRTA has concluded that the REM monitoring won’t comprise covert promotions in contents that are not included in the informative or strictly electoral programmes.

The REM intends to inform the public about the findings of electronic media programme monitoring by a report that will be published only after the election, disregarding the recommendation to do so periodically during the campaign.

The CRTA urges the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media to consider once again all civil society recommendations before the public debate in order to truly contribute to protection of public interests during the election campaign.

Here you can see the Draft Rulebook on the obligations of broadcasters during the election campaign prepared by the CRTA legal team.

 

Having decided not to accept the amendment to the Bill on amendments to the Anti-Corruption Agency Act submitted by the National Assembly deputies upon the CRTA’s initiative, the Government of the Republic of Serbia showed that it was not interested in substantially improving the electoral conditions.

 

In the reasoning of the decision, the Government defended the practice of the public officials’ campaign by practically identifying the officials with the institutions they manage, and accordingly, put a sign of equality between the public officials’ campaign and the obligation of state bodies to present the results of their work to the public.

 

The government has disregarded the OSCE / ODIHR conclusions given after the 2017 presidential elections, which clearly state that “the intensified activities of public officials in numerous social projects, especially in the campaign finale, in the eve of the elections, have raised the issue of their neutrality and contributed to a vague demarcation between national duties and activities within the campaign, which is contrary to OSCE commitments and the best international practice.”

 

The proposal for an amendment drafted by the CRTA’s legal team would not have abolished the right of state bodies to represent their work, but would have introduced a ban on persons holding the status of a public official to participate in activities promoting the work and results of public authorities during the election campaign. The proposed ban would have been limited only to certain categories of activities, namely: commencement of construction works, reconstruction or commissioning of infrastructure facilities that are partly or entirely financed from public funds. The results of the work of state bodies could have been represented by other persons employed in these bodies.

 

The Serbian government has also rejected the amendment concerning the introduction of a five-day deadline for the Anti-Corruption Agency to act upon citizens’ complaints related to the offenses under article 29 of the Anti-Corruption Agency Act (public officials’ campaign).

 

The CRTA wishes to urge all MPs to act responsibly within the public’s best interest and to vote, despite the Government’s decision, in favour of amendments that would create conditions for free and fair elections.

 

Truth-o-Meter, the first fact-checking portal in the region celebrated its tenth anniversary promising to defend the truth even more fiercely and more devotedly and not to give up the fight against lies. The anniversary celebration was marked by the creation of a new portal which will make it even easier for users to search for articles, interviews and rated statements.

At the very beginning, the Truth-o-Meter’s editor-in-chief Milena Popović thanked the audience for their support and the readers for being true to Truth-o-Meter all these years.

“Today we’ve launched a new look for our site, so I invite you to check out how rejuvenated and refreshed we are. Unfortunately, the lie has surrounded us, it doesn’t let us call it by its real name, and it doesn’t even let us breath in. However, this won’t stop us doing what we’re already doing and we promise that we will fight for the truth in the next decade, too.  We’re entering the new decade more prepared and with brave people around us, which is an additional motivation to move on“, said Milena Popović.

As part of our anniversary celebration, Truth-o-Meter wanted to give acknowledgments for the greatest falsehoods in its archive, which we classified into 4 categories: the greenest absurdity of the decade, the inconsistency of the decade, the unfulfilled promise of the decade, and the lie of the decade. The vote posted on the Truth-o-Meter portal was cancelled due to a cyberattack, when about 10 thousand votes were converted to 350 thousand votes, thus changing the existing results. The former “winners”, who had the lead in terms of falsehoods and who are mainly the government representatives, were all of a sudden replaced by the opposition representatives, i.e. the representatives of the former government. Someone’s aim was most certainly to alter the results of the “Lie of the Decade” survey.  The most interesting statements  that marked these ten years are still available on our portal, but with modified results.

“Ten years are behind us and that’s an amazing fact. There were many people coming and going, but they were all fighting for the same goal. At the beginning, I thought that Truth-o-Meter was just one of the initiatives to fight for the emergence of an accountable society, but Truth-o-Meter has grown into a serious team. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making Truth-o-Meter what it is today“,  stressed Vukosava Crnjanski, director at CRTA and founder of Truth-o-Meter.

Although, after a decade of advocating for the truth, lies still have the lead, the Truth-o-Meter team continues to hold political actors accountable for public speaking. It also seeks to provide its readers with an objective analysis of a number of social and economic issues as well as with various life stories of citizens who fight for their rights.

You can see in a short film about its creation and a team that has worked hard all these years.

The lie has gripped us so hard that we do not even have the breath to stick the Lie of the Decade label to it.

Let’s not lie to one another, we were left with no choice. We intended to select the greatest untruths of the decade with the help of our readers on the occasion of the Truth-o-Meter’s, tenth anniversary.

We uploaded a survey to our site and eagerly watched the audience vote.

The day before the closing of the vote, i.e. yesterday, we suffered hacker attack. In no time, 10.000 votes we gathered in a week turned into 350.000 “votes”.

We need not tell you how this affected the situation on the standings and how certain leaders of the lying race, i.e., representatives of the current government, suddenly lagged far behind the representatives of the former government, i.e. of the today’s opposition.

We admit that our idea has failed. We did not protect ourselves enough. We were not sufficiently aware that certain structures in this society did not leave anything to chance.

Obviously, any result that goes out to the public must be blatantly fudged.

We apologise to you, dear readers, especially to you who participated in our survey. Although we will not formally announce the Lie of the Decade, we believe that it is clear to you and to us who lies and fudges most. However, this will not prevent us from continuing to stand firmly on the side of the facts and to be even more dedicated to defend the truth than before. So, please stay tuned.

 

 

In order to substantially improve the election conditions, and above all, to disable the public officials’ campaign, the CRTA legal team made a set of amendments to the Bill on amendments to the Anti-Corruption Agency Act and the Law on Prevention of Corruption that have just entered the parliamentary procedure. The amendments were sent today to all MPs of the National Assembly, stressing that their adoption would contribute to the creation of conditions for free and fair elections.

The most important change that the CRTA proposes is establishing a clear boundary between the public and party activity, which would bring our legal framework in line with international recommendations and standards. The amendment proposed by the CRTA would prohibit public officials from participating in publicly funded events during the election campaign, and from promoting themselves, as well as the political options they are affiliated to.

“Together with unequal media coverage of all political options, the practice of a public officials’ campaign has for many years been a key problem in the election process, to which CRTA has consistently been calling attention. If there is a genuine will to create the conditions for fair elections, the changes we propose will be adopted”, stated Raša Nedeljkov, programme director at the CRTA.

For example, in the final report presented by the OSCE / ODIHR mission after the 2017 presidential elections, it was stated that “the intensified activities of public officials in numerous social projects, especially in the campaign finale, in the eve of the elections, have raised the issue of their neutrality and contributed to a vague demarcation between national duties and activities within the campaign, which is contrary to OSCE commitments and the best international practice.”

By adopting other amendments proposed by the CRTA, the Anti-Corruption Agency would be enabled to act more efficiently against public officials who break the law during the election campaign, and deadlines for the Agency to act would be more clearly specified.

 

Amendments:

CRTA:Amendments to the Bill of the law on modifications and supplement to the Anti-corruption Agency Act