Analysis: Threats, Political Pressure, Assaults and Death Threats to Journalists last Year

January 27, 2020 7:15 PM

 

Journalists continued to face interference with their work. As of August 2019, the BiH journalists’ association BH Novinari recorded 41 violations of journalists’ rights, including three verbal threats, eight instances of political pressure, six physical assaults, and five death threats.

Most of the cases were reported to police and at time of writing 15 were with the relevant prosecutor’s office. Although the number of solved cases has not significantly increased, BH Novinari reported police were more engaged and proactive with cases than in the past, and that other relevant state institutions communicated better regarding attacks on journalists.

In January, the owner of the portal Visoko.co.ba received threats after publishing articles about nepotism. Photojournalist Adi Kebo was attacked and his camera was damaged in March by a politician. At time of writing, both cases were with the relevant prosecutor’s office.

By August 2019, there were four court convictions for attacks on journalists, including a four-year sentence for Marko Čolić for the attempted murder of journal- ist Vladimir Kovačević in 2018.

In January, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović expressed concern over glorification of war crimes and war criminals in Bosnia.

In February, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on BiH to ad- dress a number of human rights concerns, including introducing a property restitution law and compensating for historically-seized property.

In a May progress report, the European Union Commission urged Bosnia to improve its legal framework to allow holding municipal elections in Mostar and to implement Sejdić Finci ruling.

In June report, the OSCE expressed concern over a sharp decline in the number of first-instance convictions for war crimes by Bosnian State Court since 2016, calling into question the quality of investigations and indictments of the Prosecutor’s Office.

In August, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) recommended the state to pay 15,000 euros in compensation to a woman raped in the war after the perpetrator, who was initially ordered by Bosnian court to pay the victim, did not have the funds, and to establish a state fund to compensate other victims of war. The CAT also rejected the government’s statute of limitations on prosecution of wartime sexual violence.

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