“Fake News” in Serbia: Civil Law Perspective


  • Sanja Savčić Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Novi Sad, Serbia




freedom of expression, fake news, legal aspects of fake news, social network, media, liability, civil law protection


Misinformation concerning politics, economics, health, and other society’s spheres is probably as old as society itself. In the era preceding the media and the Internet in particular, this problem was in focus within the small groups. Nowadays, when global network communication intensifies the exchange of information, making it easier and faster, the exponential increase in fake news shows its potential to harm or at least endanger fundamental human rights. The phenomenon of fake news is brought to a new level worldwide. As such, it has been a subject of various research areas. Speaking at the basic level of the legal approach to the phenomenon, fake news as such is nothing more than speech. In this respect, there is no means to forbid fake news just because it consists of false or incomplete information. However, when the consequences of producing and spreading such information jeopardize or harm the public or someone’s right or interest, the “fake news” stops being just a social problem and it opens the door of law.  In that sense, the approach to this phenomenon in the Serbian legal system will be analyzed in this section, in particular civil law aspects. When the right is harmed, the right holder is entitled to claim action, which leads to repairing consequences. In that sense, several claims are frequently used in civil procedures: demand to determine the infringement, demand to cease the infringement of the right, demand to remove the consequences of the infringement, compensation for damage caused by infringement, and demand to publish judicial decisions. Based on the Serbian case law, the more frequently invoked claim against fake news creators is the claim for monetary damages. Aside from this analysis, there will be satirical content, parody, and similar legally protected ‘false’ speech.