Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: Dodik continues to attack journalists

Member of the Presidency of BiH from Republika Srpska and Chairman of the main state institution, Milorad Dodik, continues to insult and target journalists, as he has done several times in the past.

In the latest attack, the target is the journalist, political analyst and head of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Office, Banja Luka, Tanja Topić. Often, her publicly expressed stances were not in favor of Dodik and his Independent Social Democrats Alliance, a fact that caused insults to her personally and her family’s account. Briefly, Dodik said that political analyst and journalist Tanja Topić is a “proven quisling” and agent of “German intelligence structures”.

According to the BiH Association of Journalists, these statements represent insults and “misogynistic political and defamatory pressure” that endangers the security of “one of the most prominent journalists and analysts in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

“This kind of threat to freedom of speech by one of the highest political officials in the country is almost unprecedented in the local political and media scene and requires prompt response and condemnation of all relevant local and international institutions and organizations working to protect journalists’ rights and freedom of the media, ”she said.

BiH journalists stressed that this is not the first time Dodik has called certain media outlets, journalists and analysts “traitors, mercenaries and hostile media” or that he has insulted or humiliated journalists with whom he disagrees.

“Unfounded accusations, public humiliation, insults and insults, expulsions from press conferences, are the common way Milorad Dodik communicates with media representatives in BiH,” the Association said in a press release.

“It is a shameful and unacceptable act for the president of the state to treat journalists and the media in this way, without causing any consequences for the publicly stated slander!” was added.

BiH journalists said they would provide full support and legal assistance to Topic, and insisted that Dodik prove his allegations in court, “and if he is unable to do so, he will be held accountable for defamation in accordance with the law. “

The Steering Committee of BiH Journalists emphasizes the fact that Dodik’s statement about Tanja Topic was broadcast by numerous media in BiH, without even bothering to contact Topic and ask her to comment and thus respect the minimum of integrity. professional in the case when the target of a brutal verbal attack is their colleague and interlocutor, whom they contact almost every day for various political topics and current events. “Solidarity within the media community in these situations is a necessity that we must never ignore. Each different type of action opens space for new political pressures on the free work of the media and journalists, investigative journalism, and critical analysis of the actions and decisions of government representatives. “BiH journalists said.

According to the association, Dodik’s statements about Topic and her family, as well as all his previous verbal attacks on journalists, “deserve, at least, a temporary boycott of media coverage of Dodik’s activities”.

“BiH journalists will inform all relevant local and international institutions and diplomatic missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina about this case,” concluded the statement, signed by the Steering Committee of the BiH Journalists’ Association.

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