Banja Luka, 27.08.2018. – The Steering Committee of BHJA strongly condemns the brutal attack on the journalist and correspondent of BN TV Vladimir Kovačević. On Sunday night, two masked persons waited for him in front of the building he lives in, attacked him with sticks and inflicted him heavy bodily injury. We are astonished by the way the attack was performed, we consider it to be an organized and well planned act aimed to endanger the life of journalist Kovačević and to stop his professional work on BN TV.
We are especially worried by the fact that Kovačević was attacked shortly after he has sent his reports from the city – demonstrations held in Banja Luka, where the group “justice for David” is gathered daily, and after a serial of verbal attacks and political pressures on journalists from BN by Milorad Dodik, the president of Republica Srpska and other public officials in this entity. This assault is the culmination of the prolonged and unpunished violence towards BNTV and other media in BiH, which we have witnessed since the beginning of this year and which must be stopped urgently!
We emphasize once again that President Milorad Dodik has directed his public and political activity too often to journalists and media, humiliated them and insulted them in the most primitive ways; proclaiming them to enemies, spies and foreign mercenaries, making them a “living target” and opening up space for direct violence. These threats and attacks have never been sanctioned, nor did the relevant police and judicial institutions of RS undertake effective and legally prescribed measures to protect journalists and their right to free and dignified work.
Therefor, the Steering Committee of BHJA, rezolutny requests from the Minstry of Republica Srpska, an urgent and professional investigation on the attack on Vladimir Kovačević. If the public is not informed about all the circumstances of the attack, including the names of the attackers and those behind them, in the shortest period of time not exceeding 5 days, we will consider the highest officials and institutions of Republika Srpska directly responsible for this criminal act. We call on journalists from all over BiH to protests and boycott all activities of the current authorities in the RS.
BH Novinari, Banja Luka, 27/08/2018