The recent attacks on journalists Aleksandar Trifunović and Nikola Morača, shortly after they expressed criticism over the re-criminalisation of defamation in the Republika Srpska is extremely worrying. It is yet another example of the difficult conditions that journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina operate in, and the ongoing hostile environment for media freedom in the country.
The EU Office expects a swift institutional and judicial follow up from the RS authorities. We also expect the RS authorities to implement measures to strengthen media freedom and prevent similar incidents from taking place in future. Moreover, we expect the highest officials in the RS to refrain from inappropriate comments that contribute to a climate of fear for journalists.
Freedom of expression and of the media are fundamental principles and values that every country with an EU perspective is expected to uphold. In any democratic society, journalists must be able to do their important work without fear or intimidation.
Guaranteeing freedom of expression and of the media and the protection of journalists are among the 14 Key Priorities for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as stated in the European Commission’s Opinion on the country’s EU membership application. Strengthening freedom of expression and media freedom, as well as ensuring appropriate institutional follow up to threats to journalists are necessary preconditions for progressing on the EU path.