BHJA: Public protest to Nihad Hebibovic over political pressure on columnist Dragan Bursac

Sarajevo, 17.12.2019. – The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association sent a public protest to Nihad Hebibovic, advisor to the Chairman of the BiH Presidency Zeljko Komsic, over political pressure on columnist Dragan Bursac and attempting to censor his author’s comment published on Radio Sarajevo. Following the publication of the column on this portal, advisor Hebibovic called Bursac to express his dissatisfaction with the way he wrote about Zeljko Komsic and demanded that the columnist correct his views.

The Steering Committee of BH Journalists considers it unacceptable for public officials to interfere in the work of journalists and the media, especially in the context of appearing from a position of function, demonstrating force and calling journalists over the phone and seeking to change copyright content.

As a former journalist Nihad Hebibovic apparently, in his public function as an advisor, forgot that there are legal and professional, journalistic means of responding to media content by denying inaccurate allegations and expressing dissatisfaction with the way Dragan Bursac wrote. Avoiding sending denials to the author of the column and the Radio Sarajevo portal and choosing a phone call as a way of expressing dissatisfaction and current political power is a direct pressure on freedom of expression and opinion, which is unacceptable in a free and democratic society.

The Steering Committee of BH Journalists reminds all public officials and their advisers that freedom of expression and freedom of criticism of public officials are key values ​​of the journalistic profession, which must be respected by everyone, and especially by those who hold public office. Bearing in mind that freedom of expression also has a responsibility for a spoken or written word, we want to emphasize that denial, public reaction or letter to the editorial board are the only correct and acceptable ways of expressing dissatisfaction with journalistic work or media content.
BHN, Sarajevo, 17/12/2019

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