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Under pressure: Research report on the state of media freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Under pressure: Research report on the state of media freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sanela Hodžić
Publisher: 
Mediacentar Sarajevo
2010
Mediacentar Sarajevo's research conducted during 2009 and 2010 shows levels of media freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina to have deteriorated during recent years. Different pressures on media, open conflicts, and, in extreme situations, physical assaults on journalists, indicate that the freedom of the media in B&H is frequently violated.
 
Several available reports dealing with the freedom of the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina show that it has considerably improved. At certain points in time the freedom of the media was considered to be highly respected. However, recent developments indicate that this level of respect has decreased over the past several years. Different pressures on media, open conflicts, and, in extreme situations, physical assaults on journalists, indicate that the freedom of the media in B&H is frequently violated.
 
"Under pressure: Research report on the state of media freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina" examines the nature of these pressures and assaults and the possible effects they might have on the quality and credibility of journalism. Moreover, researchers analyze different factors that limit freedom of speech and the media, and thus affect the quality and credibility of journalism. This research on the current situation of the freedom of the media, and the possible sources of its violation, will help us identify which possible prevention measures can be taken by relevant organizations and individuals. This knowledge will foster work towards the goal of ensuring freedom of the media, as well as improving the quality of journalism in B&H.
 
First, we will introduce the analytical framework for this report’s basic research concepts and problems, including the general principle of freedom of expression and the media. After that we shall deal with legislation regarding media and possible problems with its implementation. We shall focus on different threats, assaults and pressures on journalists and their protection. We shall also introduce several concepts important for discussing these issues, including libel, access to public information, labor rights, their solidarity, and the issue of quality and credibility of journalism.
 
All the issues mentioned above are connected, since freedom of the media can be violated by withholding information, exposing journalists to social and political pressure when they publish certain information, lack of active support for journalists, and the marginalization of B&H journalists, which makes them vulnerable to potential pressures. Finally, respect for the freedom of the media also implies responsibility on the part of journalists. Therefore, we shall examine the issue of the quality and credibility of journalism and the reasons behind violations of professional standards by journalists themselves.
 
Complete report can be found here (eng) and here (bcs).