The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Swedish Embassy in BiH, representing the OSCE 2021 Presidency, organized a conference with more than 50 journalists and media professionals today to discuss threats to media freedom.
In a press release, the OSCE said the discussion, which took place in a hybrid format, with personal and online participation, focused on frequent attacks on journalists, media work during the pandemic and how the pandemic has affected media confidence in general. in BiH.
“Free and independent media is a fundamental democratic principle. “Unfortunately, threats to the independent media are growing, undermining democracy and stability,” said Swedish Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johanna Strömquist. “We must stand up to strengthen independent, democratic voices and to actively fight disinformation.”
Over the past year, the media sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina has faced numerous political and financial challenges. However, journalists were not deterred from investigating, reporting and publishing stories of public interest.
Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, said: “Journalists and media workers play an important role in sharing vital information, uncovering corruption and illegal activities that affect the lives of citizens. The safety of journalists, online and offline, must be protected in all democratic societies. BiH is no exception. The OSCE Mission to BiH is committed to strengthening the rights and freedoms of journalists in BiH. “
Participants addressed the extent to which widespread misinformation has further undermined confidence in the BiH media sector.
“Public trust in the media in BiH is at a very low level. With the emergence of disinformation as a strategic political tool, professional and ethical journalism remains a guardian of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, serving the public interest, “said Elvira Jukić-Mujkić, Editor-in-Chief at Mediacentar Sarajevo. that should remain our common standard and guiding principle is high quality journalism and a media-familiar and information-educated audience. “
The conference is part of a broader effort to address challenges related to media freedom and freedom of expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina.