Rise in Bosnian Defamation Cases Raises Censorship Fears

It also stated that alleged facts in her articles had not been established as "completely true".

Media experts, as well as the Association of BH Journalists, condemned the verdict, insisting it contained an unacceptable assessment. The general secretary of the BiH Journalists association, Borka Rudic, told BIRN that defamation suits of this kind against journalists and the media were not being conducted in line with the European Convention on Protection of Human Rights and the practices of the European Court of Human Rights.

Rudic said it was wrong that the burden of proving defamation in Bosnian courts was being pushed onto journalists - not onto the prosecutors or persons who claim to have been defamed.

"The 'Moja Klinika' verdict against the CIN journalist shows that the judiciary lacks experts on media law who can evaluate content and react to allegations that the journalist did not have sufficient knowledge to determine the data before presenting it," Rudic maintained.

Rudic also said that verdict formed part of a growing trend, adding that her union's analysis of verdicts had revealed "deficiencies, shortcomings and lack of knowledge" in the country's courts on the Law on Protection from Defamation.

The Center for Education of Judges and Prosecutors of the Federation [entity] of Bosnia and Herzegovina told BIRN that the large number of defamation cases against journalists was a relatively new phenomenon. It agreed that more work with judges was needed to improve the quality of such verdicts.

Demands placed on journalists 'unacceptable'

Mehmed Halilovic, a lawyer and media expert. Photo: BIRN

CIN's lawyer, Nedim Ademovic, said it was "absolutely unacceptable" for a verdict to say that a...

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