SARAJEVO, 25.03.2018.- At the invitation of Prosecutor Oleo Čavka, journalist Avdo Avdic was heard today in the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Avdić gave a statement to the journalists after the hearing and said that no one asked him in the Prosecutor’s Office about the incursion of intelligence services from Croatia, but, as he pointed out, where he did find information about Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The BH journalists Association and the Free Media Help Line addressed today to a spokesperson of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Boris Grbesic, with a request to provide them official information of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the circumstances of the call for a hearing as a witness, journalist of the journal Žurnal Avde Avdić.
“According to the information provided by the Association of BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line, the call came to the journalist Avdi Avdic to be heard as a witness in a case which is preceded by the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, which refers to the alleged intelligence incursion of Republic of Croatia in Bosnia and Herzegovina and BH citizens’ recruitment for intelligence work for the needs of the Republic of Croatia. The call was addressed on the Association ‘Center for Media Development and Analysis’’. As we are informed, the journalist Avdo Avdić is the author of the text entitled “KONSUL IVAN BANDIĆ COORDINATED ACTION: Croatian intelligence officers recruitment “selefije” to transfer the weapons to the “mesdžide” in BiH”, and after the publication of the article, there was allegedly formed a case in the BiH Prosecutor’s Office about this intelligence case. We would like to alert the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH that, according to BiH criminal law, ethics journalist standards contained in the journalist’s code, and in international documents of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Federation of Journalists, all journalists and editors have the right to protect the source of information. Nobody, not even the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, has the right to force journalists to disclose information about their sources! In this context, we are expressing a public protest because of the morning hearing of Avdo Avdic journalist in the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, with the indictment that an inadmissible focus investigation on the alleged criminal offense “the invasion of the Republic of Croatia in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the recruitment of BiH citizens for intelligence work for the Republic of Croatia” to interrogation the journalists and seek information on his sources”, quotes from BH Journalists Association.
Also, they are asking to answer if they are, when deciding on hearing the journalist Avd Avdić, through the competent court jurisdiction or through other legal instruments, requested from the owner of the portal Žurnal to “release” the journalist Avdo Avdic from “keeping the professional secret” and to share information with the competent investigative plaintiff in this case.
“We assume how you know that according to the Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Article 82)” can not be heard (…) a journalist for the purpose of protecting the source of information … unless it is exempted from that duty by a special regulation or statement of persons for whose benefit custody has been established secrets’. We believe that the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, makes unlawful pressures on the journalist Avdo Avdić and violates his right to freedom of expression, which refers to the freedom of journalistic research and information gathering as well as the protection of information sources. And this is not the first time the BiH Prosecutor’s Office is hearing the journalists – recently the journalist of the journal Žurnal Azra Omerović was also invited to provide evidence and disclose information sources regarding falsification and trade diplomas.
Considering the fact that two cases of journalist interrogation regarding their investigative journalist work related to issues of public importance, in a very short period, and with pressures on journalists to discover the source of information, we expect you to respond to this letter urgently and to reassess all circumstances of violation of journalists rights through work of BH Prosecutors’s Office, as a judicial institution and through proceeding of prosecutor, individually.
N1, Sarajevo, 25/03/2019