SafeJournalists: Physical Attacks on Journalists in North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    photo: canva

    Journalist and owner of the Times.ba portal Mirza Dervisevic was seriously injured when he was attacked on the street in Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In North Macedonia, TV Alsat cameraman and journalist Era Djakovo and Sara Hodza were attacked by the owner of a barber shop in the Skopje bazaar.

    The attack on Mirza Dervisevic took place on Saturday evening, when an unknown person physically attacked Dervisevic and caused serious head injuries. Journalist lives abroad, and at the time of the attack he was on vacation in Brcko. The journalist described the attack in detail to the police, and according to them, all actions were taken to catch the perpetrator.

    The Board of Directors of the BH Journalists Association (BHJA) condemned the physical violence against colleague Dervisevic. The association draws attention to the frequent violence against journalists and the creation of a hostile environment for all media workers and activists who think critically and write about current events in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This attack is one of the numerous and brutal physical attacks that have taken place in recent months – that’s why it is extremely important to quickly and efficiently investigate the police, sanction the persons and/or groups behind this act, and inform the public in a timely manner. Journalists must have a safe environment for their work, but they must not be the target of attacks because of their work when they are not on their daily journalistic tasks,” BHJA emphasize.

    In North Macedonia yesterday, while they were filming promo inserts for a show in the Skopje bazaar on a public area, the cameraman (who wished to remain anonymous) and TV Alsat journalists Era Djakovo and Sara Hodza were attacked by the owner of a barbershop in the bazaar. He came out of one of the shops with a pair of scissors and addressed them with verbal insults and threats to his life, and caused injuries to the cameraman’s head. During the physical attack, the recording equipment was also damaged. 

    Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJK) emphasizes that threats to life are crimes provided for in the Criminal Code, and the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office should urgently investigate and process them to punish those who violate the law also to prevent possible such crimes in the future. “When an atmosphere of insults, accusations and labeling of journalists is created in a part of society, it usually ends with a physical attack. This time, given that the attacker was carrying a weapon, it could have been worse. I hope that very soon we will see the effects of the new law, which provides for a prison sentence for an attack on a journalist.”, said Mladen Chadikovski, president of AJK.

    The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, joins its members BHJA and AJM and strongly condemns physical attacks on media workers. The Network calls on the competent institutions in BiH and North Macedonia to react immediately and to find and adequately punish the perpetrators and thus show their determination to protect media workers. 

     

    The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.

    Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens. 

     

    Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 22.08.2023 

    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