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 CEE
Serbian Yettel loses lawsuit against N1, SBB, United Group
 12 Jun 2024
The Commercial Appeals Court has upheld the first-instance judgment dismissing Yettel's (formerly Telenor) lawsuit against United Group, SBB, N1 TV, and the Adria News production center. In this proceeding, Yettel attempted to prevent N1 from reporting on the cooperation between this company and Telekom Serbia, which was aimed at undermining SBB and independent media companies operating within the United Media framework, N1, part of United Media, reports.

Yettel filed the lawsuit dissatisfied with N1 media reporting in late January and early February 2021 regarding a leaked document from Telekom Srbija, and with justified reactions from both the expert and general public protesting Telekom Srbija’s intention to harm SBB and independent media companies operating within United Media through cooperation with Yettel.

Rather than explaining to the public its position regarding statements by its business partner that the goal of the join action is to harm other companies, including media, Yettel initiated legal proceedings, which it has now lost, to pressure N1 to stop reporting, i.e., to prevent it from doing its job.

Yettel’s lawsuit is one in a series of actions that have attempted to abuse the institute of unfair competition so as to prevent the flow of information in the public interest. It is worth noting that a Swiss court recently rejected a similar lawsuit by Telekom Serbia, and a retrial is underway before the commercial court on Telekom Serbia’s lawsuit demanding 80 million euros, based on the same grounds, regarding other media reports in the public interest.

The court of second instance fully accepted the findings of the Commercial Court in Belgrade under which Yettel failed to prove a single element required by law for unfair competition. The court specifically noted that N1’s publications about the plan to destroy SBB and independent media are informative content for a broader circle of interested public, in the form of a discussion on a topic of public importance about the cooperation between two companies, one of which is a company of special social significance.

In accordance with their independent editorial policy, the media within the United Media group will continue to professionally and objectively inform the Serbian citizens about all topics of public importance. Pressure on editorial policy through lawsuits, whether filed by Telekom Serbia, Yettel, or any other party, will not deter them from this path.

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