Ljubo Vuković (Foto: Direkt)
Sarajevo / Banja Luka, November 8, 2021 – The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association and the Free Media Help Line (FMHL) strongly condemn the insulting and vulgar SMS messages sent to the journalist of the Direkt portal Jelena Denda – Borjan by Ljubo Vukovic, one of the executive directors of Hydroelectric power plants on Trebisnjica and SNSD councilor in the Assembly of Bileća.
As the editorial board of Direkt announced, on November 4, several messages of offensive and disturbing content were sent to their journalist from Vukovic’s phone number. The case was reported to the Trebinje Police Department.
This is not the first time that Vukovic has verbally attacked and insulted journalists who write about his work. A similar incident happened in January this year, when this SNSD councilor also aggressively attacked a journalist who asked him about paying for his mobile phone from the municipal budget.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line express concern over the growing pressure that journalists, editors and media owners in Trebinje, as well as the entire Republika Srpska, whose reporting does not correspond to the current authorities in that entity have been suffering for months. In addition to verbal attacks, insults and threats, many journalists are daily exposed to discrimination and ignorant treatment of representatives of certain public institutions, who do not respond to their requests for access to information of public interest and forbid them to ask questions at press conferences.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists invites representatives of the authorities in Republika Srpska, public officials and directors of public companies and institutions to professional communication with journalists, ensuring equal and non-discriminatory access to public events and information for all media and journalists reporting from Trebinje and other cities, and respect media requests for statements, comments and other reactions to decisions and events of public importance. It is the obligation of politicians, members of parliament and all public officials to make their work as transparent as possible for all citizens and the media, and not to select media and journalists for “suitable” and “unsuitable” or those who are in favor of the government or opposition.
We remind that in the last three years more than 40% of journalists in BiH have been exposed to attacks or threats, and as many as 75% of them have experienced this from a politician or public official!
It is shameful that political officials in BiH have never been held accountable for public attacks on the media, which constantly incite an atmosphere of insecurity and fear among journalists and threaten media freedoms. Such a practice of impunity must finally be stopped and all journalists and the media must be allowed to do their job in a free and safe environment.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists/Free Media Help Line