The SafeJournalists network strongly condemns cases of theft of equipment of journalists Zana Karic – Gauk and Eldin Karic in Bosnia and Herzegovina and threats to journalists from SYRI TV who were reporting from a political gathering in Albania.
While they were celebrating the 14th anniversary of the Zurnal portal on Saturday, July 15, an unknown person broke into the apartment of portal’s journalists Zana Karic-Gauk and editor Eldin Karic and stole their work equipment, i.e. their two computers.
BH Journalists Association (BHJA) assesses this incident as a targeted attempt to intimidate journalists and editors of the Zurnal portal, so that they would give up investigative journalism and publishing stories about cases of crime and corruption, whose actors are the biggest political and state officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Association publicly called on the Sarajevo Canton police to conduct an urgent investigation into this case, as well as to take legal measures to sanction the perpetrators.
Another case happened yesterday to the journalist Marsi Korreshi and her crew from SYRI TV who received serious threats during their coverage of a Socialist Party gathering in the city of Rogozhina, amid the upcoming local elections scheduled for July 23rd.
The crew reported being threatened and harassed by two individuals, identified as relatives of the Socialist Party candidate, Edison Memolla. Marsi Korreshi and the crew were reporting live from Rogozhina about the hosting of a lunch for teachers, doctors, and other administrative workers by the candidate of the Socialist Party, an act which is prohibited during election campaigns. The journalist reported that multiple individuals, both on foot and in vehicles, surrounded and threatened the crew, physically grabbing them and demanding they cease their coverage and leave the premises. They were even threatened with violent removal.
The Rrogozhina Police responded to the incident promptly, after receiving a distress call from the SYRI TV crew. The Police Services advised the crew to file a formal complaint and have identified and escorted the two individuals involved, who are both residents of Rrogozhina and relatives of the candidate of the Socialist Party, for further procedural actions at the Rrogozhina Police Station.
“As the Director of the SafeJournalists Network, I am deeply concerned by the recent incidents involving intimidation and theft directed at journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. This is not just an attack on journalists, but an attack on democracy and the right to free speech. Let me be clear: ‘We cannot allow fear and intimidation to derail our pursuit of truth. We stand firmly against these attacks and will continue to strive for a world where journalists can work without fear of retribution.” – stated Dragan Sekulovski, director of the SafeJournalists Network.
The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8.200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, strongly condemns any kind of intimidation of journalists, whether it is breaking into an apartment or during a live broadcast. The network is concerned about this kind of climate created towards journalists, and calls on the institutions in the states to react to these cases and show that they protect the rights of journalists, media workers, and therefore respect democracy and freedom of speech.
SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Tirana, 17.07.2023
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro