Sarajevo, 23 September 2017 – The Managing Board of the Association of BH Journalists has issued a public protest to the FBiH Police Administration (FPA) against verbal threats and unprofessional behavior of the police force towards the Radio Free Europe – TV Liberty crew. Namely, the crew was prevented from filming the protests of war veterans in front of the FBiH Parliament building in Sarajevo.
Last Thursday, journalist Marija Arnautović and cameraman Mithat Poturović made an attempt to film the protests organized in front of the FBiH Parliament Building. However, they were ruthlessly and rudely prevented from doing their job by the police force securing the Parliament building who even threatened to give them a “good beating”.
The Managing Board of the Association of BH Journalists considers such behavior to be a violation of the right of free speech and free access granted to journalists to report on events of public interest. Such attitude of the police force also contradicts the OSCE Guidelines for Media and Police Cooperation that clearly state that the police “cannot interfere with or penalise journalists while performing their professional duties”, emphasising that “journalists have a right to take photos, film, notify, observe, interview and/or report without asking prior permission from the authorities or the police.”
Therefore, the Managing Board of the Association of BH Journalists demands that the FPA and the authority managing the police force securing the Parliament of FBiH conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and sanction the police officers who mistreated the RFE crew. We also expect that those who issued the order to ban the filming of the war veterans’ protests should be punished. They must have known that such bans are contradictory to international standards of protection of the freedom of the media and protection of journalists.
The Managing Board of the Association of BH Journalists