Most media representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not satisfied with the possibilities of obtaining information regarding COVID-19, and within the system of press conferences with or without the presence of journalists that was established by the crisis headquarters at all levels of government in BiH, showed a survey conducted by BH Journalists Association.
The survey involved 36 media representatives from all over the country – 61.1% of electronic media, 30.6 percent of online media and 8.3% of print media.
When asked whether they think that the current way of informing at the press conferences about the COVID-19 pandemic enables professional reporting in the interest of citizens, the majority of respondents (58.3%) answered in the negative, stating that the information is general and does not contain all necessary data.
8.3% of respondents are of the opinion that this way of informing fully meets the needs of the media, and 16.7% of respondents stated that they cannot give such an assessment.
The largest number of respondents (66.7%) believe that for timely, objective and accurate information in the public interest it is necessary to return regular press conferences with the presence of journalists on the spot, but also provide online participation with the possibility of asking questions, while 19.4% think that it should be done, but with respect to certain measures of distance and protection.
8.3% of respondents think that during the pandemic, press conferences should be completely abolished and crisis headquarters should inform citizens about all current events through announcements, ie official websites.
When asked how the media should react to the introduced practice of holding press conferences without the presence of journalists in order to protect the performance of their activities and professional and objective information of citizens, 44.4% of respondents said they were not sure what to do in this situation; 25% believe that press conferences should be boycotted and information transmitted only from official websites, and 8.3% state that there is no need for any reaction and that this way of placing information is quite sufficient.
When it comes to how many questions were answered by the authorities during the press conferences that have been held since the conference format was changed, the answers of the respondents vary – from those who state that they did not receive any answers, to those who say that all the questions they sent in a timely manner were answered. However, 27.8% of respondents stated that the response they received only partially contained the key information requested, 22.2% said they did not receive the information they requested at all, and 16.7% received the requested information.
Among the questions that the representatives of the media asked the authorities, and which they never received answers to, were those about the number of bedridden patients in hospitals, layoffs in public companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions and tests for crossing the border, lack of health personnel, the “Respirators” affair, the so-called Corona Law…
The results of survey are available HERE.