To what extent are judiciary institutions – prosecutor’s offices and courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina open towards media world, that is, to what extent are they ready to provide information regarding particular cases, respond and reply to journalists’ questions and enquiries? What is it that prevents and limits them in providing information and is it only transparency or rather non-transparency and disrespecting the right to information access, or, as in certain cases, is there an obligation that specific information cannot be revealed and released? Why do journalists receive accusations and indictments issued by prosecutor’s office and are prevented from attending court hearings?
“Cold war” has been on for years between media representatives and judiciary institutions in BiH, although both parties involved, looking thoroughly, should be on the same side; that is, the side based on righteousness, unbiased side, side guided by arguments and evidence based on confidential and classified information and proofs. Unfortunately, as far as both “headquarters” are concerned, professional principles are often neglected and greatest complaint journalists direct against the judiciary system is directly related to general transparency or access to information. BH journalists’ community often quote the anecdote regarding copy – paste based answer provided by BH Prosecutor’s Office official spokesperson, every time journalists send an enquiry. BH Prosecutor’s Office official spokesperson almost always replies with “No Comment”. Unlike BH Prosecutor’s Office, some other judiciary institutions seem to be more opened and are indeed ready to cooperate with media representatives. On the other hand, journalists sometimes refuse to accept that there are limits and obstacles in receiving information, especially if these relate to cases with an ongoing court procedure or in cases where all parties must be careful and cautious as far as witness protection processes are concerned, including underaged persons and similar.
This E-Journalist edition, published within the project of the Council of Europe – Freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina (JUFREX) and funded by the EU and the Council of Europe, shall cover these issues and more. These questions have been considered as current affairs during the specific period when the amendments of the Law on Information Access have been taken into serious consideration and these amendments, we shall all hope, should allow and enable journalists to easier access to information treated as public interest information and at the same time, amendments should improve more transparent work by local institutions.
77th edition of E-Journalist shall cover the issue of access to information under direct control of prosecutors’ offices and courts in BiH with remarks by Denis Džidić, executive director of Balkan Investigative Network (BIRN) BiH, Irhad Bilić, legal adviser at the cabinet of the President of Court of BiH, Nina Hadžihajdarević, special adviser for public relations with the Federal Prosecutor’s Office of the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina and Faruk Durmišević, journalist of Istinomjer.ba, a local platform.
Bilten E-novinar na bosanskom jeziku možete čitati OVDJE.
The bulletin in English is available HERE.