Even 21 percent of BiH citizens justify violence against journalists

SARAJEVO/BANJA LUKA, 02.05.2019.–Most of the citizens of BiH – 79% of the participants in the survey consider “unacceptable every kind of attack on journalists and the media”, while at the same time as many as 27% of respondents in the Republika Srpska and 17% in the Federation of BiH justify violence. Compared to 2018, the results represent a worrying rise in the number of citizens (by a full 14%) justifying violence against journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This is only part of the research results conducted by the BH Journalists Association and Friedrich Ebert Foundation on the occasion of May 3 – World Press Freedom Day.

The survey was conducted by the CATI method on a sample of 506 citizens from all over BiH and from 27 March to 8 April 2019. The main research questions were related to citizens’ opinion on the level of media freedom and respect for the rights of journalists in BiH, the recognition of political influences and pressures media, the main obstacles to free journalism, and the trust of citizens in various types of media, including media that are key sources of information for them and how public media services fulfill their mission, information needs of citizens and other obligations towards BiH publications.

The survey also showed that BiH citizens most trusted religious institutions (74%), followed by the media (66%), then with government institutions and the international community, while political parties and politicians enjoy the least trust. Compared to previous years, the results show that citizens ‘confidence in the media has dropped by more than 10 percent in the media, including a significant decline in citizens’ trust in non-governmental organizations and the international community, while trust in religious communities and government institutions has grown slightly.

Citizens of BiH, as well as separately from both entities, are “significantly less satisfied with the work of media and journalists in FBiH and RS compared to previous years”. Most of the respondents believe that media freedom in FBiH is “not at all or partially present”, while in RS almost 90% of respondents consider that “media freedom is not at all or partially present” in this entity.

Still, citizens recognize politicians and political parties as main violators of journalistic rights and media freedoms – 55% of respondents share this view.

The research on the topic of media freedom and the protection of journalists in BiH, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and BH journalists has been continuously implemented since 2009, and the results traditionally present on the World Press Freedom Day in order to encourage an interprofessional debate among the media professionals on the effectiveness of the mechanism for the protection of media freedom and rights journalists, public media responsibility and the protection of the key values of free journalism. The overall results of the research will be presented on May 3rd, 2019, at the press conference in Sarajevo and Banja Luka.
BHN, Sarajevo/Banja Luka, 02/05/2019

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