The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) concluded a series of online courses on reporting on terrorism, preventing terrorism and countering violent extremism that lead to terrorism (P/C VERLT) on 21 August 2020. The series was developed for representatives of electronic and print media in BiH.
Journalists and media professionals had the opportunity to engage in active discussions on the latest trends, challenges and standards in reporting on violent extremism and terrorism in the modern media landscape.
The online courses elaborated on the importance of the Guidelines for reporting on violent extremism and terrorism that launched in December 2019 as well as the compatibility with other existing journalistic standards.
Key terms and definitions, as well as the implementation of the Guidelines in practice, were discussed, along with examples of terrorism and violent extremism reporting in the region. Participants also discussed the most common challenges faced by journalists in BiH when reporting on these sensitive issues, the significance of responsible and professional reporting, and other useful resources.
“Journalists and editors certainly face significant challenges when reporting on terrorism and violent extremism,” said Selma Zekovic, OSCE Mission to BiH National Chief of P/C VERLT. “On one side, they need to factually report about the events that have taken place, while on the other, they need to carefully consider if their report inadvertently contributes to the goal of the perpetrators – contributing to further polarization of society, as well as the spread of panic and fear.”
According to senior journalist and presenter Adnan Rondic, one of the courses’ lecturers, the interest of BiH journalists in reporting on terrorism and violent extremism has shown its significance even during the pandemic. “The Guidance, jointly prepared by the OSCE Mission and Press Council in BiH, has received the undivided attention of media professionals who, in addition to all challenges and objective impediments in reporting, fully understand how the global phenomena like terrorism and violent extremism affect both security circumstances and political relations in this part of the world,” said Rondic.
The online courses served as a platform to share experiences, best practices and contribute to the professional development of journalists and media professionals, thus helping to prevent intolerance and society divisions. This is important for the country’s stability and for the strengthening of the media. This is part of several programmes implemented by the OSCE Mission to BiH aimed at promoting freedom of the media and countering violent extremism in BiH.