In the Republika Srpska (RS), the criminalization of defamation has been announced, and judging by the provisions that are known to the public so far, it is about criminalizing criticism, limiting freedom of speech and preventing the work of journalists.
The Minister of Justice of the RS, Milos Bukejlovic, announced on Thursday that the Government of the RS confirmed the draft amendments to the Criminal Code related to defamation, despite the fact that he assured the public for days that such changes are not even in the Ministry of Justice’s plans.
Before starting the legal procedure, they also did not contact the media and journalists, without whom it is not logical to make such changes.
However, on Thursday, after the government session, he presented a few details, saying that the penalty for anyone who insults another person will be between 5.000 and 50.000 BAM. However, when you read the draft amendments to the law, you can clearly see that the fines are up to 100.000 BAM, which implies that the real goal of the authorities in the RS is actually to shut down the media and independent journalists.
In Article 208 b. – Presentation of personal and family circumstances in paragraph (1) states: “Whoever brings out or shares anything from the personal or family life of a person that can harm his honor and reputation, will be fined from 10.000 BAM to 40.000 BAM“.
Then it says that the fine will be from 20.000 to 100.000 BAM if it is done through the media or social networks.
According to what is written in the amendments, it seems that it will not be possible to write anything from the personal and family life of public figures, regardless of whether it is about e.g. criminal act or questionable moral action of an individual. This is especially bad when we talk about politicians, considering that it is very important for society to know what kind of person it is that runs state processes for us, and what they do “within their four walls” is indeed important.
The authorities in RS assure that the law will not be aimed at journalists, however, the amendments are there and it is clear who could have the biggest consequences because of them. In this entity, even until now, one could see the clear determination of the police not to allow freedom of speech, and those in power in the RS clearly prefer unanimity.
Defamation used to exist as a criminal offense in the RS, but it was abolished precisely with the aim of developing freedom of speech and realizing democracy in a broader sense. Therefore, it is unclear why the authorities in the RS consider retrogression to be a good idea, Klix.ba reports.