Attacks, Pressures, on Bosnia’s Media Increased 40 Per Cent, Report Says

The annual report by the Bosnian Journalist's Association, BH Novinari, has shown that governments in the country have done "almost nothing" to improve media freedoms and journalists' safety. 

According to the results of their monitoring, done through the Free Media Helpline, which provides assistance to journalists and media workers, the number of political pressures and threats to journalists increased by 40 per cent in 2022 compared to the year before. 

"A third of the reported cases refer to attacks, insults and pressure from politicians and public officials," the report presented on Friday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo said.

Some 31 attacks, threats and pressures on journalists and media in Bosnia were registered through the Safe Journalists platform, which gathers journalists' associations from six Western Balkan countries. The platform also registered 22 death threats. 

The report also stressed an increase in online hate speech against journalists.

"In most of these cases, the competent institutions - the police, prosecutor's offices and courts - do not have an adequate response. Assailants often remain unidentified and investigations are suspended mostly with the argument that there are no elements of a criminal offence," the report said. 

In total, the Free Media Helpline registered 79 cases of violations of media freedoms and journalists' rights. 

Bosnian media are already in an unenviable position; last year, the country slipped nine places to 67th place out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Media Freedom index, which cited a "relatively favourable legal environment," but an "extremely unfavourable political and economic milieu."

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