BH JOURNALISTS: SIPA must know that journalists have the right to protect their sources of information

Sarajevo, June 6, 2024. – Steering Committee of BH Journalists and the Helpline for Journalists demand that the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) suspend investigative actions that may have negative consequences for the protection of journalistic sources and the preservation of professional secrecy, which were initiated in connection with the order Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on the questioning of journalist Avda Avdić, editor of the portal, and the people responsible for Hayat TV.

Steering Committee of BH Journalists expresses its astonishment at the fact that journalist Avda Avdić and the Hayat TV editorial team were called to the premises of the SIPA Agency to testify, without having been previously informed in writing in what capacity they were being called or in connection with what crime. Such procedures are contrary to the standards of the Council of Europe on the protection of freedom of expression and the application of Article 10 of the European Convention on the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, which decisively prescribe the circumstances under which journalists can be investigated and the manner in which the procedure for legitimate restrictions on the right to freedom of expression is carried out.

The Management Board of BiH Journalists also emphasizes that the order on the interrogation of journalists conflicts with the provisions of the BiH Law on Criminal Procedure, which prohibit the interrogation of journalists for the purpose of revealing business secrets and sources of information. As is well known, journalists and other media workers can and should reveal their sources only in cases where their information could help the investigative authorities in discovering the perpetrators of war crimes and other murders.

Steering Committee of BH Journalists encourages journalist Avdić and Hayat TV colleagues to refuse to give SIPA Agency inspectors any data or documents that could violate the confidentiality and integrity of the source of information, until they are informed in detail why they have been called to testify, i.e. about what criminal the work is being done.

Steering Committee of BH Journalists Association
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