The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, that represents more than 8,000 members, strongly condemns the threats made to journalists of the online magazine „Žurnal“, following a series of articles on possible international crime activities related to money laundering and drug cartels.
In a video message, recorded and sent by a person named Mirza Gacanin, with a place of residence in the Netherlands, the author Avdo Avdic was told that he would be “searched through canals” because of his articles.
The Regional Platform expresses grave concern because of the threats and direct endangerment to the safety and life of journalist Avdo Avdic. At a time when attacks on journalists, not only in the Western Balkans, but throughout Europe and the world, are on an increasingly intense and serious scale, we believe that these threats need to be taken seriously, and the police and judicial institutions must take effective, legal measures to ensure protecting journalists and sanctioning the person who sent the threatening video message.
“BH Journalists Association strongly request that the competent police authorities and prosecutors’ offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina take all legal powers and measures to protect the safety of journalists, as well as seek cooperation with the police from the Netherlands through international legal assistance in order to sanction the person who sent the threatening video message. Also, BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line will inform international organizations for the protection of media freedom and safety of journalists about this case and request their reaction,” said Marko Divkovic, President of the BH Journalists Association.
Threats to the journalist of „Žurnal“ and his family are at the same time a brutal attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the media. Any kind of threats and pressures should not be a means of dealing with the media and expressing dissatisfaction with the way journalists write about particular persons or topics.
The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety calls on all relevant institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and internationally to conduct an urgent and effective investigation into this incident and, in the meantime, to take all appropriate measures to protect the safety of journalist Avdo Avdic and his family.
Any attack on journalists is an attack on the public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.
Sarajevo – Podgorica – Zagreb – Prishtina – Skopje – Belgrade, 24.10.2019
BH Journalists Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia