SARAJEVO, 15.12.2017.-Many congratulating messages (coming from political offices and cabinets) emerged on the Day of Media Freedoms just in the period of vast hypocrisy in Bosna and Herzegovina, at the beginning of May 2017, followed by hypocritical congratulating messages for the Labor Day as well. It has become clear to everyone familiar with (BH) politicians and their deeds that those blank and rather empty congratulating messages, derived from the pens of those working in public relations offices, were tailored in accordance with mere schedule framed in certain wishes that had vanished years ago.
There were even brassy ones that, in their attempt to appear somehow differently, sent messages to journalists that “with- out responsibility, freedom / liberty may become anarchy”. This statement, as part of congratulating or greeting message, unintentionally and unconditionally, hidden the true message that many journalists in BiH (at least those that cared about journalism and society in general) had been forwarding to Bosnian political leaders and that should serve as general warning for the entire society. Freedom / liberty of those having contact with governing authorities and thrones, and to be clear there are many of those in BiH, is indeed equal to anarchy, since they bear no responsibility whatsoever nor they feel obliged in reporting to general public and during this rather imperious freedom, they often tend to oppress other forms of freedoms / liberties as well. Media freedom / liberty, being subject to many public congratulations and greeting are no exception in this particular “process”.
Who and how one shall sail Every time when younger colleagues, that is, those willing to hear what we “more experienced” would have to say, but also those (more experienced) willing to hear what “less experienced„ colleagues would also have to say, raise a question if independent journalism does exist in reality, I often reply by pointing out that independent journalism does not exist in reality, however, an independent journalist does exist. Let us stop pretending and glorifying journalism as an occupation, bearing in mind that almost everything in the world has been devalued and degraded, and journalism is no exception here.
However, a complete independence in journalism has vanished. Media shall always appear as a raft floating in unstable wavy water in order to prevail and survive, thus keeping alive people working on it as well. This should therefore display a mutual sustainability process and according to these rules, as long as there are no “weltering and rippling” journalists, the floating of the raft shall be more simple and stable.
While the fact that marketing vastly “controls the float” and it defines the stories that shall be subject to posting, can be justified on one hand, particularly on internet web sites where fast –growing and everlasting updating and speed; on the other hand, the congratulating mass from the beginning of this story determine who shall float and as they control the guiding of the float as well. It’s no secret that politics and politicians lead the role in guiding this particular branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including internet- based journalism as its disordered area, As a result, and as in many countless and disordered and unsettled fields, lawmakers prefer to keep these fields disordered and unsettled since it would allow them to manipulate and expose their mantras and finally, but equally important, it would provide them with the possibility of disposing of public money.
In other words, they would proceed with money laundry through ads on internet web sites. Laundry Platform Today in BiH most municipalities have, more or less, their own internet web sites. Besides, every municipality has at least two web sites posting local news of various qualities. This represents a Laundry Platform. Namely, no one can make such internet web site to post information regarding the ownership, names being involved in editing office operations or associated details.
Everyone knows that, in most cases, local political party activists or merely someone unable to exist in a different manner, have been assigned to perform certain duties for some salary or monthly wages, edit and manage the page that may benefit the governing authority officials. Simultaneously, governing official authorities shall make sure that marketing is being provided on such web site and this shall fulfill the needs of those that “fill in” the site, while others should be satisfied with what is left. No one is quite certain why and how such prosperous and wealthy public enterprises ended with banners posted on two sites only with almost no visitors there.
No one has, unfortunately, taken this issue into serious consideration although it was clear that political party links and ties with the ministry that was in charge with this particular company have been more important that the quality and visiting figures on these web sites. No one even dared to ask (and is not likely to do so) how much money ended up in pockets of people working with the ministry. Stories about responsibilities, fines and money returning indeed seemed as fairy tales. Local web sites certainly find easier to float in such sea, because local governing authorities dejure remain in power several consecutive mandates.
Consequently, local municipal budget disposal of money includes money allocation to local media houses and it often concludes with certain local media house receiving municipal budget – based funds and financial means, without prior checking or control of this media house and this amount increases accordingly, following the official commencement of election campaign. Undefined and indecisive web sites may consider themselves lucky only while the big fishes sit in big armchairs thus creating a situation where everybody is cheering up during public and religious holidays and when enormous amount of money is spent on greeting cards.
As a result, certain journalists feel satisfaction by being involved in particular projects (if they could even be considered as professional journalists in the first place), but this occurrence also “withdraws” the money through overestimated adds. Public enterprises once again, seek their loyal men, but also seek those that eventually may become biased and take sides based on six – months of annual contracts as a reward. Finally, those that do not deserve to be selected, in terms of quality contents and number of visits, do get selected instead. Politics always requires couriers Ties between the politicians and media houses are not specific for BiH market only. Political brainwashing in the world is based on this ties and the thing is that this washing is more transparent if it occurred outside BiH.
Politics always requires its couriers and it shall continue seeking and recruiting them. It is the very same message that has been floating over Bosnian public heads for decades which allows media houses to play media games, just as politics often plays the game of politics, Anyone supporting eulogies about powerful persons can be found almost anywhere and can be bought off for certain amount of money. It then becomes clear that a powerful person by having this kind of support, gains yet another link in his / her chain of power, since he / she may turn the water tap off, that is cut off money payments for some journalism projects at any time he / she wants.
However, on the other hand, one should be aware that there are other samples and cases as well regarding this issue. There are media houses that do not want to release and publicly reveal details regarding the ownership structure in their houses, which consequently provides them with some kind of protection from outer political influences. Anyone following the media situation in BiH should be aware that one could find out and discover, even with no impressum, who is hiding behind whose butt and whose wallet and also, who is capable of breaking stereotypes highlighting the fact that no success can be achieved unless one is someone’s puppet. When money, not deriving from a political party funds is being dispersed, there are however clear rules about its “distribution”. Namely, the money shall be distributed to those that most deserve it according to their numbers, work and actualities, including marketing people and more intelligent brain washers from wannabe politicians on the other hand. They simply want their advertisements to be shown to largest number of people. If you can manage to attract largest number of people by your work; then there shall be no problem regarding this issue. If not, you shall be lying to yourself and lying to them that you indeed have been on the right path and would thus have to wait for mercy by money givers. They prefer that the advertisement they manage to “handle” is less seen which would additionally allow them to take the money and hold a platform through which they perform with the money laundry process.
Finally, they would feel more relaxed bearing in mind that those on the float shall not “vibrate” and would appear stable as well. — Public enterprises once again, seek their loyal men, but also seek those that eventually may become biased and take sides based on six – months of annual contracts as a reward. Finally, those that do not deserve to be selected, in terms of quality contents and number of visits, do get selected instead. 7 e journalist Apart from the fact than every program broadcasted by any RTV Station should be based on the respect of professional and commonly – accepted values and ethic standards righteous and unbiased, he, above all, cannot tendentiously promote interests of a single political party or any group or an individual.
This text is a part of E-Bulletin– second edition of special serial of BHN online bulletin implemented through the “Media and Public Reputation” (origin. “Mediji i javni ugled”) project, also representing a contribution to public debate regarding the transparency of media ownership and upholding and encouraging the passing of set of laws aimed to advance media field and information market in BiH.
Berislav Jurič, BHN Bulletin E-journalist, Sarajevo, 15/12/2017