OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović urged the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina today to do their utmost to stop persecuting journalists and to respect their right to protect their sources, following a raid by the police on the offices of Klix.ba in Sarajevo and subsequent detention of key staff.
“This is a grave and disproportionate intrusion into the journalists’ right to report about public interest issues,” Mijatović said. ”While fully recognizing the importance of rule of law, I consider this case to constitute unacceptable treatment of the media in a democratic society.”
Following a court order issued by the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo, police raided the offices of Klix.ba on 29 December. Reportedly, the police seized computers, documents, notes and other items from the offices.
Almost the entire staff of Klix.ba was asked to leave the premises, while editor Jasmin Hadžiahmetović, directors Dario Šimić and Mario Šimić and journalist Edita Gorjanac were detained for questioning. They were later released and the police also left the premises.
“Protection of sources is a crucial element of investigative journalism. Detention, interrogation and pressure on members of the media to reveal their sources is simply unacceptable,” Mijatović said.
The Representative has previously raised concern about the summoning of journalists from Klix.ba by the Interior Ministry of Republika Srpska (RS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, following an audio recording which was published in Klix.ba (see http://www.osce.org/fom/129941).
Mijatović also noted that the Municipal Court in Travnik issued an injunction on 24 December prohibiting the Federal Network Television (FTV) from reporting on three police officers from the Interior Ministry of the Central Bosnia Canton. The police officers had previously filed libel charges against FTV for reporting on allegations of illegal drug trafficking.
“This is yet another case that gives cause for concern about how media and journalists are treated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deteriorating media freedom trend needs to be reversed and I call on the authorities to immediately look into these issues,” Mijatović said.
(Source: osce/ photo osce)