Results of Insajder
The informative TV series “Insajder”, created and led by Brankica Stankovic and Miodrag Cvorovic first came on air in 2004 on TV B92. “Insajder’s” journalistic team in the series tackled various topics of public interest, from the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, hidden agendas of authorities, close connections between criminal groups and establishment representatives, unwillingness and resoluteness of the justice system to prosecute cases, war crimes denials, smuggling, organized crime, abuse of power, mismanagement and malpractice in the management of public service providers and companies, passive and active corruption affecting citizen oriented service delivery, etc.
Quickly it grew into the most visible investigative documentary TV series in Serbia as well as and in the neighbourhood region, reaching at time seven digits viewers per episode. Between 2004 and 2014, more than 120 series were produced and broadcasted. “Insajder” not only raised the bar in investigative journalism, but also contributed to substantial changes in the Serbian society, through dozens of actions initiated by authorities upon broadcasting. Please see below the direct impact made consistency through the years by the series:
November 2004, series “Manuscripts do not burn”
The series revealed the causes and consequences of assassination of Serbian PM Zoran Djindjic. This was the first time to depict the role of the Special Operations Unit, events surrounding their rebellion, the preparation of assassination, investigations, and trials. Many individuals involved spoke for the first time about the events before and after the assassination of Prime Minister Djindjic. Many of the State secrets were exposed for the first time. Among other things, Insider presented evidence that immediately after the democratic changes of October 5th 2000; crucial documents filed by the Secret service were destroyed. The broadcasting of the series instigated many reactions from the public; several trials had been launched to discover what happened with the secret service files.
January 2005, “What we thought, knew and did” an interview with Vladimir Popovic
This was an exclusive interview with one of the closest associates of late Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. The interview revealed shocking events surrounding the construction of the first democratic government after Milosevic’s reign, blackmails, preparations on how to deal with organized crime groups, cooperation with Milosevic’s chief of Secret service, criminals etc. This ground-braking interview exposed many unknown facts for the very first time.
June 2005, “Maka’s group - taped conversations”
The show presented facts about an organized criminal group that was on trial for assassination of a police general Bosko Buha. The group was acquitted and released. Journalists from Insider came to evidences pointing out that the group indeed was involved in the assassinated of the general. After the show was aired, Higher Court annulled the verdict and ordered a retrial, but the group has been on the loose ever since.
June 2005, Interview with a police general Milan Obradovic
Due to political clash in the government following operation “Sword” (special operation launched after the assassination of PM Djindjic in 2003), police general Milan Obradovic was arrested and removed from his position even though he was innocent. All the evidence pointed out that this was a set-up, hence after several years, the Public prosecutor withdrew the indictment and the general was returned to his post. He later became an assistant to Minister of Justice.
October 2005, series “Serbian Justice”
This series exposed deep-rooted corruption on various levels within the justice system in Serbia. After the broadcasting of the show, judge Vuckovic was arrested and convicted for taking bribery from the criminal group.
November 2005, series “The State Crime”
The series investigated circumstances surrounding the assassination of high official from the opposition party (SPO), in 2000. The show exposed all the evidence pointing to the involvement of individuals from the State Secret Service and judges who staled the process. After the show, a verdict was passed sentencing all the involved individuals to long-term prison sentences, however, the higher Court annulled the verdict twice, ordering retrials.
December 2005, “Assassination in Visnjicevo”
The show revealed a state secret involving member of Police unit and investigative judges who tried to conceal a crime from 1991, when a volunteer from Yugoslav National Army murdered Kresimir Herceg - only because he was a Croat. Herceg was killed in front of the witnesses and inhabitants of the one Serbian village who kept the secret for many years. Officially, Serbia was not involved in the war when the murder of Kresimir Herceg took place on its territory. After the show, a new investigation was launched.
January 2006, “Patriots”
Episode fully disclosed activities of paramilitary unit “Scorpions” active during the war in former Yugoslavia. Members of the unit committed various atrocities, including cold-blooded murders under the auspices of Ministry of Interior and Army. Today many of the members of this unit are on trial for war crimes.
February 2006, series “Tobacco smuggling – action NET“
Public was presented with evidence on how Marko Milosevic, the son of Slododan Milosevic, organised tobacco smuggling during the sanctions and the war in former Yugoslavia in the 90s. Insider revealed that police members made special report titled “Net”, containing details on how businessman, individuals from state security and police were involved in tobacco smuggling. Until the broadcast of Insider series, this special report was locked in Minister’s draw and no legal action was taken. After the series was aired, 18 persons were jailed, businessman Stanko Subotic and Slobodan Milosevic’s wife, Mirjana have been indicted. Legal proceedings are in sessions.
March 2006, “Official Note”
Insider’s team detailed how in 2004 the primary suspect for the murder of PM Djindjic, following his arrest was brought directly to the cabinet of Minister of Interior, Dragan Jocic, instead of taken to the presiding judge. For 2 years Insider insisted that Minister violated the law and requested from him to stop withholding publicly important information. Following enormous public pressure the police released the official note covering this event. That is how Minister actually acknowledged violation of law. However, Insider team determined that the Note was falsified and the Prosecutor reacted. Official investigation was terminated by ‘top authoritative decision’, as it was stated in the document that Insider obtained. This process is still on going.
February - April 2007, “Self looted State”
In this series, many evidence revealed how representatives of Milosevic’s regime transferred over 2 billions Euros to Cyprus during the sanctions in collaboration with privileged businessman. The money has been taken from citizens of Serbia and later on used in privatization process and that is how Milosevic’s businessmen are now owners of Serbia’s prime real state assets. New government after 2000 has tolerated this. After the airing, general director of customs, Mihalj Kertes was arrested and the indictment included five individuals involved, but the corrupt justice system enabled this case to become outdated.
January – March 2008, “The Rules of the Game”
Series of six episodes described in full how football mafia operates, how state budget was ripped of, how club managers and politicians were involved, how ordinary criminals became football managers and how it is possible to have two different contracts for the same player. Police arrested some of the people involved, including general director of FC Red Star Belgrade, Dragan Dzajic. President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic abolished Dragan Dzajic, during on going court procedure. Serbian turbo folk singer Svetlana Raznatovic (who inherited FC Obilic from her husband criminal Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan) admitted that she took the money from fault player transfers, in accordance with the information presented by Insider.
October – November 2008, “State Secret”
Series of 6 episodes on wrongdoings by secret services, enrolled in thefts, abuses and murders depicting how there was never a true intention to properly reform the secret services. We tried to obtain all data from special Commission formed to investigate security oversights in assassination of former Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. After the government refused to let us access documents, we pressed charges but the Administrative court only confirmed government’s decision. After our appeal, Constitutional Court stated that our journalists’ rights have been denied and now it is up to Administrative Court to act again.
April – May 2009, “Abuse of Office”
In this series we discovered how abuse of city and state institutions brought decrees and laws suited only for certain business elites, how state and city budgets were ruined and how these actions led ‘construction mafia’ to flourish. Many evidence revealed how state representatives gifted businessman the most attractive pieces of the real estate. The estimated loss from these arrangements costed citizens of Serbia app 2 billion euros. The money could have been used to repair and build schools and hospitals. The bogus privatization process led not to economic recovery but to cheap selling of factories and real estate to scheming businesses.
After the broadcast, many procedures on obtaining properties been brought into question and new law has been passed declaring businessmen to retroactively businessman reimburse the full value for the real state gained in shady privatization. By presenting evidence how businessman Milan Beko tried to obtain Port of Belgrade we managed to prevent him of acquiring two hectares of exclusive property. In 2012 Miroslav Miskovic was arrested partially because of the evidence presented by our team. In June 2009, vice president of European Parliament McMillan-Scott Edward asked us to translate the whole series into English, to reveal the misconducts by the State and require action.
December 2009, series ”(Dis)empowered State?”
Series of three episodes on the football hooligans in which we presented who are they, in what processes are they involved and who is protecting them. After broadcasts few hooligans were arrested, but not for the many crimes presented in the series, but for threatening the author of Insider.
February 2011, series “Scam of the Century”
Series of four episodes discovered one of the biggest embezzlements taking place in the coalmine Kolubara, a part of Serbian largest public Energy Enterprise - EPS. Crucial evidence was shown, responsible officials from coal mine and representatives from competent state authorities that allowed such crime and budget looting were named. After the broadcast more than 30 people were arrested, but four years later - there are still no indictments by the Court.
November 2011 series ”Trading in Health”
The series deals with whether the world-wide consternation amid the swine flu outbreak was provoked for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies. Following several months of research, Insider reveals what relevant institutions across the world are prepared to do in the interest of the pharmaceutical industry and how people around the world are actually guinea pigs used as subjects of various experimentations and testing. With the outbreak declared a pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry was given the opportunity to make a large profit and it swiftly produced H1N1 influenza vaccines. Insider discloses that the vaccine was released without its side effect being tested thoroughly. The H1N1swine flu vaccine, whose side effects were not tested properly, entered Serbia at all costs, according to Insider’s research. Due to the existence of three middlemen, the price Serbia paid for the vaccine was higher than, for example, that paid by Switzerland. In September, three persons were arrested on suspicion of being involved in vaccine procurement fraud. Following Insider series, the indictment also covered the drug merchant Jugohemija general manager. Proceedings are still under way.
September – November 2012, series “Patriotic Plunder”
In these series Insider team showed how the primary state officials’ slogan “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” costed citizens of Serbia over two billion euros over the course of 12 years. Under the excuse of patriotism and Kosovo Serbs survival, average 650 000 euros were spent daily from the budget - without any control or public knowledge. As a result, there are now powerful individuals in the northern part of Kosovo and poor Serbs in enclaves hardly surviving. Ignoring reality that Serbia does not have any authority in Kosovo from 1999, when late Slobodan Milosevic after 3 months of NATO bombing signed Kumanovo Agreement, representatives of every government that followed deceived their citizens.
“Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” meant that, among other things, the State gave money to public enterprises that used to exist before 1999 and paid salaries to people that were no longer residing in Kosovo. Money was given for the roads and buildings that were never constructed. Huge amounts were spent for buyout of Kosovo Albanian apartments in order to ‘settle Serbian refugees ‘ while the money went directly into pockets of privileged individuals. A year after the initial broadcast, Serbian Parliament formed special Committee to double check everything that was presented by Insider and each and every presented fact was confirmed. The people that need this type of support the most never got any help. No matter that Serbian official parliament commission confirmed findings, to this day no one was held accountable.
December 2012, “Azotara plant”
Many privatisation processes in Serbia were constantly overshadowed by new revelations exposing corruption and wrongdoings by the state officials. For years, political parties that were in power seriously misused their positions by depleting already deteriorated public companies that were in the process of privatisation. Insider team revealed serious misconducts in privatisation of many public enterprises, but revelations in the case of Chemical industry “Azotara Pancevo’” brought to arrests of 22 people on corruption charges.
September – October 2013, series “Energy (Dis) Agreement”
Insider team proved that the Serbian state representatives deceived public in 2008, by signing special agreement with Russia. The agreement was promising up to half billion euros in Serbian budget every year, more than two thousand employment opportunities, enrolment of many domestic construction companies, economical boom and big step forward for Serbia in natural gas transportation business. The agreement that was signed was a reason for all government representatives, from 2008 until nowadays to name the construction of South Stream gas pipeline as a “Business of the Century”. It turned out that all documents signed were marked as “Top Secret”. In over a yearlong investigative process, many classified documents were obtained with precise figures on investments that Serbia representatives were obliged to make. Documents showed that Serbia totally relied on Russian gas, while huge amounts of money started to flow to new-formed companies with hidden ownership. Insider also revealed how taxes from future gas transport were supposed to be collected in new-formed Serbian-Russian offshore companies in Switzerland. Moreover, Serbian main gas company “Srbijagas” that has huge depths, was supposed to carry out the whole agreement. The deal was clearly another doomed expense for the citizens. After Insider series was aired, the government representatives openly said that they would try to change this agreement.
December 2013, a "A Debt Mine"
While standing outside mines of the copper mining and smelting company Rudarsko-Topionicarski Basen (RTB) in Bor, authorities have on dozens occasions pledged to Serbia’s citizens that new investments in the near future would bring hundreds millions of euros to state coffers along with prosperity of the mining sector and industrial production. But when politicians and party activists leave the town of Bor and TV cameras are off, what remains is a true picture of once mining giant – a company with two failed privatization attempts, for which the state has tried to find a strategic partner. Serbia’s only copper producer, RTB Bor is a state-owned company with debts totaling more than EUR 1 billion. Insider’s several-month research shows that hundreds millions of euros in new lending, most of which are directly or indirectly backed by state guarantees, are withdrawn and spent without realistic business plans, and even without a realistic economic analysis which would show how one of the most indebted firms can ever repay its debts. According to so far statements, the largest portion of the accumulated debts will have to be repaid from the budget, that is, with the money of Serbia’s citizens.