SafeJournalists: Minister Elmedin Konakovic Abuses Political Power and Public Space for Verbal Attacks to Bosnian Journalists

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    SafeJournalists: Minister Elmedin Konaković abuses political power and public space for illegal attacks to Bosnian journalists

     The SafeJournalists Network strongly condemns the political pressure and the verbal insults address by Elmedin Konaković, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) to several journalists and media at the press conference, which is organized on April 25, 2024. in Sarajevo.

    By abusing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs public space and his own ministerial position, Mr. Konaković tried to criminalize a number of media and journalists without argument and any evidence, calling them “part of the media-judicial mafia”. Konaković’s accusations against the media and journalists came after a number of people from the police and public life were arrested in Sarajevo and other cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the charge of being part of the international drug cartel “Tito and Dino”. Bosnian investigative media wrote about the possible connections of the BH Minister of Foreign Affairs with persons from that criminal group. Minister Konaković rejected such accusations calling it “attempts to endanger the European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina“.

    The BH Journalists´ Steering Committee reminds that Mr. Konaković has been verbally and brutally threatened the BH media for years from his  various positions in the public authorities, and attacking especially those journalists who write critically about the ways in which he performs his public duties. At the same time, Mr. Konaković politically misleads the public, especially through social networks, interpreting journalist´s criticism addressed to him  as a public official, only as an attack on state institutions and/or the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its European path.

    The SafeJournalists Network assesses the actions of Minister Elmedin Konaković  as an unacceptable violation of the freedom of expression, safety and dignified journalist ́s work, and an inappropriate display of political power against media workers. Also, the SafeJournalist network joins its member BHJA in supporting the journalists and media in Sarajevo to take needed legal actions before the institutions responsible for the protection of freedom of expression and the prevention of all forms of gender-based violence against media workers.

    The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case. Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.

    Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 05.04.2024

     

    Association of Journalists of Kosovo

    Association of Journalists of Macedonia

    BH Journalists Association

    Croatian Journalists’ Association

    Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

    Trade Union of Media of Montenegro

    Photo: Canva