Sarajevo/Banja Luka, March 6th – BH Journalists Association calls on the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government of the Republika Srpska and the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the competent legislative authorities in this country, to take the necessary measures and ensure the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on stopping violence and harassment in the field of labour, with special focus on the media and violence against female journalists.
The call for the adoption of the ILO Convention 190 is part of the international campaign of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which has been joined by numerous media unions and journalistic associations around the world with the ultimate goal of preventing violence against female journalists, as well as promoting the protection of working and professional rights in the media.
The world journalists association proclamation emphasizes that “violence and harassment of women journalists and other media professionals can occur everywhere: in newsrooms, in relation to journalistic sources, at home, on the way home, online, in the public space in general. Violence and harassment have devastating consequences for select, independent female journalists who are targeted and harassed; such acts adversely and destructively affect their well-being, work, private life and, ultimately, freedom of the media. “
Women in the media are more often the targets of threats and gender-based violence and harassment than their male counterparts. According to IFJ statistics, almost 65% of women-media workers have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse regarding their work, either online or in the workplace. The BH Journalists Association has statistics on at least 60 female journalists and editors in BiH who have been victims of violence in the last four years, which is a direct threat to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
IFJ and BH Journalists point out that abuses and violence against female journalists can come from all directions: from editors who use their position to intimidate younger journalists, from colleagues or interlocutors who make sexist comments to women journalists, and from random passers-by who physically attack female journalists or send them misogynistic messages online.
For this reason, it is extremely important that female journalists, editors and all other media professionals demand that the state and entity governments, as well as the parliaments in BiH, ratify the ILO Convention 190, since its acceptance and respect could change the lives of journalists and citizens by prohibiting harassment and violence in the field of labour and turn workplaces into safe zones without gender-based violence and harassment.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted the ILO Convention 190 in June 2019 and called on governments worldwide to adopt this document, incorporate it into their policies and laws protecting labor rights and safety in the workplace.
Why it is important to pressure governments and parliaments in BiH to adopt the ILO Convention 190 on harassment and violence in the field of work:
- After ratification of the Convention, it becomes a legally binding document;
- Protects all media workers regardless of their status (full-time employees, freelance journalists, interns and freelancers in the media, etc.);
- Violence and harassment in the media, because of professional journalistic work in general, makes it a health and safety issue. Employers in the media will need to include violence and harassment when managing occupational safety issues.
- Includes gender-based violence, including: sexual harassment, harassment, imputation, cyberbullying and all other forms of violence against media professionals.