The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, and the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kathleen Kavalec, condemned today the attack on two radiosarajevo.ba journalists and called on the authorities to ensure the better protection of journalists.
On 27 September, two journalists of a prominent news portal, radiosarajevo.ba, were threatened by two individuals who objected to an article. In a hostage-like situation, journalists were forced to take down the article from the website, and to call other news portals and newspapers to ask them to remove the article as well.
“I strongly condemn this attack as well as the death threats against the journalists and their families. Safety of journalists is one of the most important prerequisites of media freedom, which is a key pillar of our democratic systems. Journalists must be able to report on issues of public interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina without pressure or threats, like everywhere else. I urge the authorities to do their utmost and ensure that journalists are able to perform their important work in a safe environment,” said Désir.
“The number of attacks on journalists in 2019 seems to have reached an alarming level. This is unacceptable behaviour. The authorities must intensify efforts to protect the media in BiH and prevent such attacks,” stated Kavalec. “I call upon all relevant authorities in BiH to implement the 2017 recommendation of the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman and define an attack against a journalist as a criminal offence in criminal codes or as a serious criminal offence of an attack against an official person on duty.”
Désir and Kavalec welcomed the swift reaction of the Sarajevo Canton Police in dealing with the case.