Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are most confident with religious organizations (74,6%). 79% of the examined sample believe there is a lack or little presence of media freedom in BiH. 52,2% believe it is due to political influence and dependence. These are some of the results of the research „Journalism, Public Opinion and Media Freedom“ presented on WPFD2017 in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Zenica, Tuzla, Brcko, and Bihac.
The presentation was opened by the Head of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in BiH Marius Müller Hennig, who noted that media all around the world is temporarily in a difficult situation, and that there are political pressures on the journalist, but also that the number of attacks on media workers remains high.
„The media in a democracy has a key role, especially in the context of social media expansion. Most worrying is the fact that media houses which transmit reliable and accurate information are endangered. Therefore, it is necessary to provide three prerequisites: protection from violence, editorial independence and sustainable model of financing, for both public and private media”, said Hennig.
Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo Lejla Turcilo said the survey results reflect the division among BiH citizens and media, but also dissatisfaction with the media because they do not feel like they are sufficiently and well informed.
“It is evident from the results that citizens are more critical of editors and owners, and that the owners are increasingly appearing in public. Still, the number of those who think that journalists are threatened is reduced, which shows how little journalists speak about the difficult conditions in which they operate”, said professor Turcilo, and added that violence and attacks on journalists have become an acceptable model of behavior because since there is no condemnation nor journalistic solidarity.
According to Milkica Milojevic, BHJA Board Member, this year’s report is very challenging and a warning on several grounds.
“What kind of society are we living in if, with all due respect, the majority of citizens trust mainly to religious communities? This information would not be debatable if the institutions had a better score in confidence, but they are not. State institutions, politicians, and political parties have the least confidence rate (13%), she said and commented that the fact that almost 25 percent of respondents in the Republica Srpska justify attacks on journalists in certain circumstances is devastating.
Mladen Mirosavljević, profesor na NUBL, istakao je da se položaj novinara u društvu i njihov rad neće poboljšati ukoliko napad na njih ne bude tretiran kao napad na službeno lice.
Mladen Mirosavljević professor at Independent University Banjaluka (NUBL), pointed out that the situation of journalists in society and their work could be improved if the attacks were treated as attacks on an official.
WPFD was marked in BHJA Journalist Club Zenica. “Journalists are exposed to pressures, and the media, particularly local outlets, suffer the consequences of economic dependence, said Velida Kulenovic, President of BHJA Journalist Club in Zenica. It is necessary to solve the question of survival of the PBS, as well as tom establish a sustainable model of financing of the PBS,” said Harun Bosnjak BHRT journalist and BHJA Board Member.
Students of Faculty of Philosophy in Zenica and professors of the University of Zenica participated in the discussion in Zenica as well.
Research results were presented by BHJA Journalist Club in Tuzla.
“Every day we witness the dismissal of journalists, but also threats and extremely hypocritical statements by politicians who suddenly remember to congratulate us the WPFD. Our archive is filled with their outbursts, threat, and insults toward journalists,” says Marko Divković, BHJA President.
BHJA Journalist Club Bosanska Posavina held the presentation and debate in Brcko. President of the Club Admir Kadric said the overall status of journalists in BiH society is not good.
„Journalists still do not hafe the freedom in media reporting. The dependence from politics and editorial policies is expanding. It is important that citizens recognize the influence on media by business people“, said Kadric. This state could be improved with an absolute implementation of law regulation and with mutual journalist efforts in combating self-censorship.
BHJA Journalist Club of Una-Sana Canton marked the WPFD2017 in Bihac by psending a public support to the local public media outlet RTV Bihac. Journalists from Bihac jointly condemned all pressures on media, especially those denying the basic needs of employees, such as in this media house where the employees did not receive five wages and have no support of management nor city administration in resolving their status. Journalists’ Club of Una/Sana Canton expects understanding and support from the City Council and the Mayor, as well as payment of the earned salaries.