The Board of Directors of the BH Journalists Association (BHJA) sends a public protest to the Brčko District Assembly and the Sarajevo Canton Assembly due to verbal attacks and insulting qualifications against Mirza Dervišević, editor of the Times portal, and Avde Avdić, editor of the Istraga portal, behind whom stand Abdulah Iljazović, representative of the Brčko Assembly District and Elvedin Okerić, representative in the Sarajevo Canton Assembly.
At yesterday’s session of the Brčan Assembly, Abdulah Ijazović spoke insultingly about Mirza Dervišević, calling him derogatory names and trying to minimize the physical attack from August this year, when this journalist suffered serious physical injuries. Just a day earlier (October 24), the target of a verbal attack was Avdo Avdić, he was rudely insulted at a press conference in Sarajevo by Elvedin Okerić, the chairman of the Sarajevo Canton Assembly, refusing to answer a legitimate journalist’s question about the allocation of grants from the Sarajevo Canton budget and Okerić’s role in it.
Instead of using a denial and/or lawsuit for defamation if they are dissatisfied or consider themselves damaged by the author’s texts of Avda Avdić and Mirza Dervišević, MPs Iljazović and Okerić misused parliamentary spaces and public political functions to stop critical questioning of topics of public interest of which they are the actors. alone. In this context, the Management Board of BH Journalists calls on the competent authorities of the Assemblies of Brčko District and Sarajevo Canton to raise the issue of abuse of assembly premises for violating the rights and dignity of journalists, and to take adequate measures against representatives who promote violence, lack of culture and political primitivism instead of the rule of law.
The members of the Board of Directors of BHJA consider the demands of individuals and the public to be more responsible for journalists and the media in creating media content, especially in cases where there are no reliable facts or when there is a danger of prejudiced conclusions and comments. Responsibility is an integral part of freedom of expression, and these two values of the journalistic profession cannot be viewed separately. However, it is unacceptable for the Board of Directors of BHJA to respond to possible journalistic mistakes or insufficient objectivity with threats, verbal insults or physical violence, which is continuously happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Therefore, the Board of Directors of BHJA once again appeals to the police and prosecutorial authorities to act professionally and responsibly in the investigation of every attack and threat to journalists, and to take adequate legal measures to punish the attackers, regardless of whether they are politicians, public officials, criminals or any other persons. One of the unsolved cases of violence also refers to the physical attack on journalist Mirza Dervišević, about which the Brčko District Prosecutor’s Office has not yet made a statement nor has it made any prosecutorial decision on the persons suspected of this attack.
Board of Directors of the Association/BH Journalists Association (BHJA)