Sarajevo, March 21st – The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association (BHJA) sends a public protest to Mr. Fahrudin Radoncic, Chairman of the Coordination Body of BiH for Protection and Rescue and the Minister of Security of BiH, for attempting political manipulation and misinterpretation of the legitimate request of the BHJA to create a media pool, epidemiologically and health-safe conditions for the work of journalists who follow the developments in relation to the coronavirus in Sarajevo and other BH cities.
By calling for the formation of a media pool, BH Journalists did not seek any privilege for media crews, but safe working conditions, as required and recommended by all international health and media organizations and associations, but also by the government of BiH, crisis headquarters and civil protection institutions. Examples of organizing press conferences in a safe manner, without gathering a large number of media crews exist in Europe, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina – in Banja Luka, where in the last seven days there has been sharing public information without convening journalists in one room and using effective online communication tools and channels, or in the capital of BiH, where the Council of Ministers tries with the BHRT, as a public service broadcaster, to find the best and safest ways to organize press conferences.
It is completely unacceptable for us at the Steering Committee of BH Journalists that Mr. Radoncic tries to collect political points by confronting the protection of journalists and all other BiH citizens in such a way that they are more or less important than others. A simple, justified and reasonable request by the journalists’ association for the protection of journalists, cameramen and photojournalists is based on the fact that some of our colleagues are self-isolated and unable to perform professional tasks due to attending press conferences or other public gatherings. We also emphasize that without healthy and protected media professionals, it will not be possible to adequately inform or educate the citizens of BiH about the necessary measures and protection they need to take to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists warns Mr. Radoncic that he will bear the responsibility himself if any more media professionals become infected during press conferences that will not be organized in a proper and safe manner.