OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, and Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia, Kathleen Kavalec, condemned the “targeted online hate campaign” against several media professionals in BiH and urged authorities to take “effective measures to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with the law.”
Citing a recent statement by the BH Journalists Association, OSCE expressed concern over “an increase in hateful, aggressive and nationalistic commentary against journalists in the country via online platforms over the past few days.”
Those specifically targeted include BH Journalists Secretary General, Borka Rudic, N1 TV chief editor, Amir Zukic, N1 journalist, Nikola Vucic, and journalism professor of the School of Political Sciences of University of Sarajevo, Lejla Turcilo.
“Deliberate manifestations of hateful and aggressive speech against media professionals in retaliation of their work have a chilling effect – not only on their ability to serve the public in democratic society, but also on their physical safety as such online violence can increase the risk of further threats and violence against journalists,” said Ribeiro.
“The authorities must apply all available legal avenues to swiftly and effectively investigate and prosecute the perpetrators as well as combat hate speech online, to ensure a safe environment for the media in the country,” she added.
“I am alarmed by the latest example of intimidation and threats towards public figures in BiH,” said Kavalec.
She noted that “the widespread smear campaign against prof. Lejla Turcilo, Borka Rudic, Nikola Vucic, Amir Zukic and others threatens their safety.”
“I strongly urge the authorities to comply with its OSCE commitments and enable journalists and freedom of expression advocates to work in an environment free from intimidation,” she said.