Journalists ethics forgotten: media help institutions in spreding xenophobia towards refugees and migrants in BiH

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Koalicija za borbu protiv zločina iz mržnje i govora mržnje

SARAJEVO, BANJA LUKA, TUZLA, BIJELJINA, 09.05.2018. – “Considering the media impact in forming public opinion, it is important media reports to be in accordance with professional and ethical principles , to respect two sides of the story and not to lead to further marginalization of those who are certainly in an extremely unfavorable social position”, stated besides other in the public announcement of the Coalition for Fighting Hate Speech and Hate Crime, published on the occasion of Victory Day Against Fascism. 

The institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been unprepared to see an increase in the inflow of migrants and refugees in our country, which directly affected the conditions in which these people are located. Reports of volunteers who work daily with people in BiH seeking protection from persecution in their countries, or going through to country on their way to EU states, say that foreign accommodation centers are crowded, lacking in food, and are unconstitutional for dignity life of people.

Institutions of BiH, especially Department of Foreign Affairs BiH and Ministry of Safety BiH, in the past period they did not inform BiH citizens about their work in this field, nor did they make public information on the number of foreigners, their countries of origin, the conditions in which they were accommodated, as well as the number of submitted or approved asylum and refugee status in BiH.

The leaders of these institutions are, on the contrary, based on persuading the public that they are “false migrants”, people who go through BH and who have come to our country to “relax”, “various opiates and narcotics” “Health risk” and “do not want to be placed in existing accommodation, but want accommodation in the center of Sarajevo”. To spreading this xenophobia and racism additionally contributes unethical reporting of bh. media, all in order to atract readers. The media transmit sensationalist statements without looking at the problems, without interviewing refugees, volunteers working there, without visiting accommodation centers, and without posing specific issues to BiH institutions about their work with migrants and refugees, number of submitted and granted asylum applications, the receipt of these requirements, the provision of accommodation, food, clothing, health and social protection which they have under the laws of BiH and international standards are eligible in our country. According to the volunteers not only do BiH institutions fail to fulfill their duties, but are also working to prevent and hamper the submission of asylum applications, and there is also the practice of illegal push back of migrants from bh. borders, which the media have so far failed to report.

 

On 09.05. which is marked as the Day of Victory over Fascism, the Coalition for Fighting Hate Speech and Hate Crimes warns that sensational media texts only contribute to the creation of a hostile environment for refugees and migrants and favor the development of violence motivated by xenophobia and racism.

The members of the Coalition appeal to officials, representatives of institutions and the media to refrain from postponing inaccurate, discriminatory, profiling and stereotyping statements that do not contribute to understanding and solving the current situation of increased foreign inflows in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Please note that people currently in our country, according to international conventions and laws of BiH, have the right to protection, we remind officials and representatives of the institutions of responsibility and duty they have assumed by taking up their duties, and emphasize that the focus of solving and responding to the current the primacy situation must be human rights and the protection of these persons.

Considering the media impact in forming public opinion, it is important media reports to be in accordance with professional and ethical principles , to respect two sides of the story and not to lead to further marginalization of those who are certainly in an extremely unfavorable social position.

Members of The Coalition for Fighting Hate Speech and Hate Crime

Asocijacija za demokratske inicijative

Youth centre KVART

Civil Rights Defenders

Fondation CURE

Foundation Media centre Sarajevo

Youth Initiative for Human Rights BiH

Otaharin

Youth Journalists Association (ONA)

Sarajevo Open Centre

Tuzla Open Centre

BH Journalists Association

Press Council BiH


Koalicija za borbu protiv zločina iz mržnje i govora mržnje, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Bijeljina, 09/05/2018