BH Journalists: We reject congratulations, we want media freedom!

Sarajevo/Banja Luka, 03.05.2020. – On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association calls on all journalists, editors and other media professionals to jointly oppose open, targeted and frequent violations of journalistic rights and media freedoms in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Since May last year until this year’s festivity of free journalism, BH Journalists have recorded 49 physical assaults, death threats and political pressures. Workplace mobbing, layoffs, discrimination and other forms of endangering of labor rights in the media are on the rise. Of particular concern is the growing poverty of media workers, who carry out their hard and responsible work for degrading salaries, the lowest among all professions that imply a high level of knowledge and professional integrity.

We especially emphasize the unacceptably large number of cases (21) of violations of journalists’ rights and freedom of the media since the beginning of 2020, especially in the period of extraordinary circumstances caused by Covid-19. Because of their work, critical and investigative journalists are daily exposed to hostile treatment, pressure, and denial of access to public events and information.

Most threats to journalists, violations of their rights and safety come from public officials, political figures or top government officials. Therefore, with indignation, we reject all congratulations and political messages to the media community on the occasion of May 3rd. Instead of congratulations, we demand that BiH public officials respect the right to freedom of expression! Instead of political flicks, we demand the effective punishment of attackers against journalists and those who hide public information from the media!

In a traditional survey of BH Journalists and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, this year again, BiH citizens expressed the highest level of trust in the media and journalists. This trust obliges responsible journalists and all other media professionals to never subordinate the public interest and journalistic ethics to propaganda and misinformation, or to act at any time under dictation and in the interests of political and economic power centres.

Today, more than ever, we all need to show how much we are ready to strengthen, together and in solidarity throughout BiH, the foundations of responsible journalism, objective information for citizens and critical dialogue in BiH society!

Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association

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