Sarajevo, August 29, 2020 – The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association sends a strong protest to the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Chief State Prosecutor Gordana Tadic due to several months of inadmissible and continuous pressure on the free work of media outlets and journalists in BiH.
After daily „Oslobodjenje“ published the story of the lawsuit filed by Chief State Prosecutor Gordana Tadic asking the state for compensation of accommodation costs, to which she was allegedly not entitled, newsrooms received an information from the official e-mail address of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, stating that the Chief Prosecutor will file a defamation lawsuit against the author of the said text, Avdo Avdić, as well as against all media outlets that transmitted the story. The e-mail from the Prosecutor’s Office also claims that the allegations from the mentioned article are not true, and the media are required to remove the disputed text immediately.
According to the Law on protection against defamation, Gordana Tadic, like all other public officials, can file a claim for defamation, but only privately and in a personal capacity. The fact that Chief Prosecutor Tadic used the official communication channels of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH to threaten the media with her private defamation lawsuits is an unacceptable pressure on the media and an abuse of the position of Chief State Prosecutor.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists emphasizes that it is shameful that the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as one of the highest judicial institutions in the country, placed itself in the service of Gordana Tadic’s personal interests, “judging” that allegations from the mentioned article in „Oslobodjenje“ are not true, without having investigated the whole case at all. We remind that this is not the first time that the Prosecutor’s Office, as an institution, in its work focuses more on journalists and their activities instead of on the evidence that these journalists publish. It was similar after revealing of “Diploma” and “Selefije” affairs, when journalists were interrogated in the premises of the Prosecutor’s Office and even asked to reveal their sources, with whom and where they met and how they obtained certain information.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists points out that such activities of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH seriously endanger the freedom of journalists and media to report on topics of public interest without fear, which is absolutely unacceptable in a democratic society. The State Prosecutor’s Office must protect the rights of journalists and treat them in accordance with the law, expressing the highest ethical and professional standards, and not put itself in the service of the private interests of individuals and their “confrontations” with the media. We demand from the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, as well as from the Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic, to immediately stop pressuring the media and journalists and enable them to work undisturbed, guided by the principles of the rule of law as the foundation of a free, democratic society.
Steering Committee of BH Journalists Association